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Chapters in an Adventurous Life 












THE Editor begs to acknowledge his obligations for 
the kind permission to reprint those chapters in this 
volume which originally appeared in ' Blackwood's 
Magazine ' and ' The Monthly Packet.' 





Escape from Quakerdoin Egypt Malta First expedition 
to Calabria Commandant of Capri Attacked by the 
French A daring feat The Ionian Islands . . 1 



Visit to Vienna Count Nugent At the Congress of 
Vienna The Buonaparte tablet The Carbonari and 
the Calderari Commission as general to destroy the 
secret societies . . 21 



Cerignola News of the Vardarelli Interview with the 
chief A levee Reviewing the brigands Fate of the 
Vardarelli 30 




The diploma and qualifications Secret signs Francesco 
Perrone Murder of Dell' Aglio Accidental capture of 
Perrone 56 



Punishing a malcontent The widow's vow Biding her 

time Arrival of General Church Justice at last . 74 



Giro's history His "justification" Trying General Otta- 
vio's horses A sudden disappearance An unexpected 
reappearance 88 



The old feudal castle Surprised by Giro Slaughter of the 

inmates Murder of the princess The one survivor . 99 



His activity General Church's plans Banquet at Lecce 
A brigand wedding Arrival of the troops Giro in 
straits Escape in disguise The General at San Mar- 
zano Capture of Giro 108 




His defence in Scaserba A parley Surrender March to 
Francavilla Trial and execution Rejoicings of the 
people 135 



General Church's militia Talk with Colonel Schmerber 
Martina A warning Lecce An envoy from Giro 
Arrest of the Council of the Decisi Their execution 
Scene with Don Felice 143 



Castel del Monte Rencontre with Vardarelli Sending out 
a spy Meeting between Giro and Don Gaetano The 
spy's narrative 177 



Nardelli and De Bernardis The fate of Don Blasi De 
Bernardis's bargain with Giro Murder of Nardelli 
De Bernardis's concealment Betrayed by his greed 
Capture A devout brigand 194 



The masked ball The Masseria dell' Duca A novel 
battering-ram Sullen peasants Boehmer's discovery 
The Pie di Monti A brief repose De Feo's disguise 
News of the brigands . . 222 




General Church's progresses Notice by Sir John Rennie 
A night in a masseria Capture of Occhio Lupo Execu- 
tion of the last captain of the Decisi ... . 251 



Government ingratitude Don Luigi Gentili A complaint 
to the king The General's firmness General Church 
and the tailor 268 



General Church appointed to command of troops in Sicily 
Outbreak in Palermo Open rebellion of military 
Imminent danger of the General His imprisonment 
Petitions for his liberation 287 


Some notes and personal reminiscences by his nephew, 
Canon C. M. Church, give the sequel of the life of 
General Church in Greece from 1827 to 1873 . . 305 



Sir Edmund Lyons Letters from Lord Palmerston and Mr 
Gladstone The succession to the Greek throne Ces- 
sion of the Ionian Islands Destruction of the Senate 
Finlay's < History 'The end 343 






MATTHEW CHURCH, a merchant of the city of 
Cork, and member of the Society of Friends, 
sent his second son, Richard, to school. But 
school and Quakerdom were not to the lad's 
taste, and before he was sixteen he ran away, 
and took the king's shilling. It must have 
been a blow to his parents, but they seem 
to have made the best of it, for his father 
purchased for him a commission in the 13th 
(Somersetshire) Light Infantry, and his home 
letters show that there was never any breach 
between him and his family. But though his 


relations forgave him, the " Connection " did 
not, for we find that he was " disowned " by 
them in 1800, in which year he was gazetted 

His first service was in Egypt, and in Febru- 
ary 1801 he writes to his mother : 

We are about two or three days from Alexandria, 
where the French have their chief army, and where we 
expect the greatest resistance. . . . We have here 
Le Tigre and Sir Sidney Smith ; he is to command a 
battalion of marines and seamen and act on shore : with 
him there must be success. . . . 

He goes on : 

Shocking idea ! . Five paras, a coin of this country 
worth only a halfpenny, is the inducement held out to 
these wretches, the Turks, for the head of a Frenchman, 
and wonderfully well it succeeds ; but it matters not 
whether French or English, so they have an oppor- 
tunity of murdering him his head goes to the Grand 
Vizier, and the assassin receives his paras. The Greeks, 
who are slaves to the Turks, and are Christians, are 
as opposite a people as possible a brave, honest, 
open, generous people, continually making us presents 
of fruit. If they make any money by trade, when it 
pleases the Turk he takes it from him, and if he mur- 
murs, death is his redresser. Oh, how I hate the 
Turks ! 

This expression of feeling in the boy of six- 
teen is curious, when we remember how he 
fought for the freedom of Greece years after, 
and spent all he had in the service of his 


adopted country. That he never repented 
the sacrifice, is shown in a letter written 
to his sister-in-law more than forty years later, 
in which he says : 

A man who, like myself, has sacrificed everything for 
a cause, and thereby totally ruined himself, must be ex- 
cused if he falls off from communication with even his 
nearest relatives. Yet I must say, that except as it 
relates to you and my nephews, I do not regret having 
sacrificed everything in the world to the cause which I 
embraced, and to whose triumph I hope I contributed. 

And he adds : 

Were it to be done again, I should again embark in the 
same difficulties and dangers. 

But to return. In the letter to his mother 
already quoted he adds : 

We, the army, certainly go through more than any 
people in fatigue, hardship, dreadful living, and storms ; 
living on salt pork towed three days astern of the ship, 
and still so full of salt you cut it with the greatest diffi- 
culty; foul water, maggoty biscuits: such living is 
common to us, and happened no less than four times 
riding at anchor, twice before enemy's towns Vigo 
and Cadiz and twice in Tetuan Bay. I felt that I 
never knew the real sweets of home ; and how many 
dangers, hardships, and fatigues would I now go 
through, and smile at, for the happiness of a return 
home to my dear parents, sisters, and brothers ! 

The boy's longing for home was not to be 
gratified yet. He took part in the battle of 


Aboukir Bay in 1801 (where he used to say that 
a big, good-natured sergeant encouraged his 
slight, boyish officer with, " Don't be afraid, 
sir, you'll soon get used to it ! " as Richard 
showed a tendency to duck his head as the 
balls whistled by) ; and he was at the capture 
of Rosetta and the siege of Alexandria, which 
fell in August of that same year. But the 
time did come, and doubtless the truant was 
welcomed with pride and delight, even by the 
grave Friends who had shaken their heads 
at his very un-Quaker-like and reprehensible 

In April 1805 our young hero, who had 
exchanged into the 39th Regiment, sailed 
with an expedition of 7000 men under com- 
mand of Sir James Gibson- Craig to Malta. 
They were to keep the Court of Naples out 
of the arms of the French, and, in company 
with a large force of Russians, to protect 
Naples itself from invasion. The Bourbon 
King and Queen of Naples do not seem to 
have been in the least anxious for an English 
alliance, and under such circumstances the 
plan was sure to fail. An account of the 
Court intrigues and military operations is to 
be found in Sir Henry Bunbury's Recollec- 
tions. 1 We will only go into so much of 

1 Sir H. Bunbury's Passages on the Great War. 


the matter as concerns Richard Church. He 
was all his life a reader, and his voluminous 
note-books show that he thought as well as 
read. As the expedition was delayed at 
Gibraltar on its way to Malta, he made the 
most of his time, " in reading the few books 
I have, amusing myself with fortification as 
usual, occasionally taking a row about the 
fleet, bathing. Ossian, Ariosto, and Plutarch's 
Lives are my chief authors, and one constantly 
relieves the other." 

In July they reached Malta. In September 
he was made adjutant of the Light battalion, 
then being formed under Colonel Kempt. He 
writes home : 

We consist of 890 select men from all the British 
regiments on the island, and placed under the command 
of Colonel Kempt, a very excellent officer, who was 
military secretary to Sir E. Abercromby in Egypt, and 
in all his campaigns elsewhere. I am placed on the 
staff as adjutant to the Light Infantry battalion. Believe 
me, that I am sensible that there are many officers 
whose abilities make them more fit for the situation. 
There were no less than fifteen applications made by 
different officers, and all strongly recommended by their 
commanding officers, and I am really astonished that 
I succeeded in obtaining what I so little deserved or 
expected. It is of all others the most advantageous 
situation an officer of my rank could obtain. 

He adds : 

We sail to-day [November 8], supposed for Naples ; 


and it is believed we shall proceed 200 or 300 miles in 
Italy without having any affair with the French. A 
great many regiments who served in Egypt are with 
us, and if we meet ' the invincible army of Italy,' I 
hope Grenadiers and Light Infantry of the British will 
be able to give a good account of them. The last 
cannon from the fleet has fired. 

They embarked at Castellamare, November 
20, and then took place a grand review before 
the King of Naples, and volleys were fired in 
honour of the battle of Trafalgar. But in 
December of that year Austerlitz had been 
fought, the Bourbons had fled to Sicily, and 
Joseph Buonaparte was set on the throne of 
Naples. The English fleet sailed to Messina, 
and the young adjutant had plenty to do, his 
knowledge of Italian making him especially 
serviceable in intercourse with the people. 

He was at the battle of Maida, and Sir 
Charles Stuart writes of him to the Horse 
Guards : 

His zeal and attachment to the duties of his pro- 
fession were conspicuous in a series of services that 
occurred within my own observation. I hardly know 
a more promising young man, or professionally a more 
deserving one. I gave him to Kempt as brigade-major, 
and he always fully appreciated him. 

At this time Calabria was infested by ban- 
ditti, and the weak Sicilian Government tried 


to play them off against the French a scheme 
in which Sir Sidney Smith took part. 

There were many secret societies in the 
kingdom of the Two Sicilies, and as one of 
their rules was to protect their members, all 
who were " in distress, and every one that was 
in debt, and every one that was discontented," 
not to mention every one who was fleeing from 
justice, joined some such society. Ferdinand, 
then, thought he was doing a very politic thing 
in encouraging them, promising amnesty for 
the past, and redress of grievances, as soon as 
ever he should return to his kingdom in Naples, 
without making much inquiry as to what the 
real state of affairs was, and on which side the 
grievance lay. Calabria was certainly in a 
miserable state ; the inhabitants fled to the 
mountains to escape the French barbarities, 
and found the brigands their best protectors. 
Some one was wanted to see what was going 
on, and to find out what really was the state 
of the French armies in Calabria. It was just 
the post which suited Richard Church's dash 
and daring, and he volunteered to go. His 
colonel, the Hon. Lowry Cole, hesitated at 
first, but then consented, though he declared 
he had no peace of mind till the young man 
was safe back again. Accompanied by only 


twelve Neapolitan cavalry, Richard Church 
rode to Nicastro. He says : 

I found Nicastro in a most dreadful state of con- 
fusion and dismay, from a threatened massacre and 
pillage by the masse [bands of brigands]. Half an hour 
previous to my arrival two of the inhabitants had been 
murdered in the streets ; and the syndic, governor, and 
many others had been repeatedly fired at. ... During 
the day parties continued to arrive, until they amounted 
to about 1500. . . . Towards evening they attacked the 
house of Don Giuseppe Nicotera, with the avowed in- 
tention of massacring the whole family and pillaging 
the house. I am happy to state, before they had found 
any of the family or carried away anything of conse- 
quence I arrived at the house, and from the steady 
conduct of the detachment of cavalry, and by making 
use of threats and persuasions, I succeeded in forcing 
them out of the house, and immediately ordered their 
chiefs out of the town to take post towards Scigliane, 
with which order the greater part complied : a number 
still remained, and I thought it necessary to patrol the 
whole of the night. 

Sir Henry Bunbury says of these masse : 

They are ready enough to rob and ravage and murder ; 
they will massacre the stragglers, or even cut off small 
outposts of the enemy. Sometimes they will defend 
themselves pretty obstinately in a strong mountain 
village, but they never have shown courage when at- 
tacked by regular troops, nor perseverance in keeping 
together and sustaining a warfare in their moun- 
tains. . . . 

And again : 

The captains of the masse seized the moment of con- 


fusion to set off in all directions to plunder the towns 
and villages, confident in their numbers and in the 
arms lavished on them by the British admiral. . . . 
These were the people whom Queen Caroline cherished 
as the props of her crown, and whom Sir Sidney Smith 
was proud to reckon under his command. 

Richard Church returned in safety, and was 
thanked for his service and his report by Gen- 
erals Stuart and Fox. He says in a home 
letter : 

I feel more real pleasure at having been the instru- 
ment in the salvation of these hundreds [of women and 
children] than in having assisted in the destruction of 
the thousands of our enemies at Maida. 

Soon after this he was promoted to the rank 
of Captain in the Corsican Rangers, and for 
two years from October 1806 to September 
1808 was in command of Ana Capri, the upper 
town which looks down over Lower Capri : the 
island had been taken by Sir Sidney Smith, 
and was held by the English against the 
French. Richard writes to his sister soon 
after his arrival : 

How fast the scene changes ! A twelvemonth has 
not yet passed, and I have written you from Malta, 
from various parts of Italy, from Sicily, from Calabria, 
from Sicily again, from Capri. ... I have served an 
unsuccessful campaign allied with the Eussians against 
the French in Italy, and been on a most glorious ex- 
pedition against the same enemy in Calabria. I have 
been under arms three times to be reviewed by two 


crowned heads twice for the King of Naples, and once 
for the King of Sardinia. I have witnessed an earth- 
quake ; scarcely been, even for a week, out of sight of 
Mount Etna, Vesuvius, or Stromboli. I formed a party 
with the army selected to besiege Scylla, and was at the 
taking of it ; and had the good fortune to be actually 
shipwrecked at Charybdis ! . . . I have been mixed up 
alternately with Russian and Neapolitan troops, Cala- 
brese, Sicilian, and French, ... I have served in the 
various capacities of lieutenant, adjutant, brigade-major, 
and captain, and have had no less than four different 
commanding officers in that space of time. To con- 
clude this history, I am now, through the great favour 
of my present commanding officer, Colonel Lowe, duly 
installed captain-commandant of Ana Capri. 

He thus describes the island and the outlook : 

From Capri you have the most beautiful view 
imaginable of Naples and Vesuvius, as well as of Baise, 
Pozzuoli, the Elysian Fields, Portici, the Palace of La 
Favorita, and all the towns in the Bay of Naples 
towards Castellamare. . . . You have a fine view of 
the Apennines and the highlands in the Neapolitan 
territory for many miles. From the back of the island 
you command a prospect of the Gulf of Salerno and 
the various towns on its shores. So much for the views; 
now for the island itself. It is about three and a half 
miles in length, and perhaps its greatest breadth is not 
above two. It is divided in two parts, Capri and Ana 
Capri, and has three towns, or rather villages, several 
convents and a bishop, and several remarkable ruins of 
palaces, &c., built by Tiberius when that wretch made it 
his residence. The whole island is a perfect garden, is 
covered with vines, figs, &c. Capri is the chief town and 
port, and has a castle ; it is the seat of Government and 


the headquarters of the regiment, and has about 3000 in- 
habitants. The roads are hilly, narrow, and for the most 
part in steps. Ana Capri is about two-thirds of the 
island, and once up, a level terrace abounding in fruit, 
wine, and oil : it has no place of anchorage for shipping, 
but several creeks and small bays where an enemy may 
attempt a landing. The only road from Capri here is 
up a rock, cut into 600 perpendicular steps. . . . Fancy 
me leading a high-spirited Arabian horse up these 
steps ! which I have done, and he is the only horse in 
the island. . . . 

I am sole governor here, civil and military. My 
military force consists of two companies, besides an 
officer's detachment of forty men, making my regular 
troops about 200, and two four-pounders. Besides 
these I have about sixty militia, and some few of the 
King of Naples' gamekeepers. I am at the advanced 
post, the first to be attacked when King Giuseppe 
[Buonaparte] shall be that way inclined. I am totally 
independent of the commanding officer, except what 
relates to the regiment, and communicate with him by 
telegraph and night signals. The population consists 
of about 900 people, not one of whom can go down to 
Capri without my passport. There is here a convent of 
nuns, and a college for ecclesiastical education. I am on 
great terms with the abbadessa, a most respectable old 
lady, who was obliged to fly from Naples by the French, 
and is much attached to the English. We correspond 
almost daily, and as often as possible I make her a 
present of fish, fresh butter, hams, and anything else I 
can pick up ! 

In April 17, 1807, his letter to his brother 

shows that the life is becoming monotonous : 

I have now been nearly seven months commandant 


[he says], I am nearly tired of it. ... On March 1 
a division of 2000 or 3000 French under General 
Merlin embarked from Baise, and were half-way across, 
when a tempest arose which obliged them to put back. 
. . . We have worked night and day to increase our 
strength. ... I have plenty to do, as Colonel Lowe 
has made me chief engineer and inspector of the coast, 
and I have the whole of the fortifications of Ana Capri 
to design and complete with my own resources, accord- 
ing to my own ideas. ... By offering rewards for the 
balls fired by the British ships into the island when 
the place was taken, and which were to be found in 
vineyards, I have recruited as far as 500 extra rounds ; 
. . . since then we have received from Messina a large 
supply of ammunition and provisions. 

" Capri is much changed for the worse since 
the days of Augustus and Tiberius," he writes 
to his sister in the following year. "It is 
not a delightful residence." And in another 
letter : 

This is a rascally island. I have arrested some 
priests detected in correspondence with the French. 
This is a nuisance, for we are now obliged to fortify 
against the inhabitants on shore as well as the enemy 
at sea. 

Now came the time when " the quiet and 
unpopular Joseph Buonaparte" gave place in 
the kingdom of Naples to " the fiery and im- 
petuous Joachim Murat," who on the 6th 
September 1808 made his entry into Naples, 
and his first idea was to make himself master 


of Capri. No wonder, when one remembers 
that he could see it, with the British flag fly- 
ing, any day from his palace windows ! So he 
quietly armed his vessels, while he sent an 
Engineer officer in a fishing-boat to hang about 
Capri, and see what would be the easiest place 
for landing. 

Unfortunately, by way of strengthening the 
garrison of Capri, a Maltese regiment was sent 
there, under command of Major Hammill ; 
" swelling its number," says Sir H. Bunbury, 
" but by no means improving its quality. The 
Corsicans . . . were, on the whole, a brave and 
well-instructed body of men, led by intelligent 
officers. But the Maltese were of inferior caste : 
a few of their officers, indeed, were British, 
and their commander, Major Hammill, was a 
gallant soldier. . . . But, in truth, Capri was 
fancied to be so strong . . . that it mattered 
little what description of soldiers were to make 
a show along the cliffs, or fire from behind 
rocks upon the landing-place." Richard Church 
was therefore relieved by Major Hammill, and 
with his Corsicans joined Colonel Lowe at 

On the night of 3d October the French ex- 
pedition sailed, and in the morning Colonel 
Lowe found his island menaced by the enemy 
on every side. " And where," asks Sir H. Bun- 


bury, " was his Britannic Majesty's frigate the 
Ambuscade ? Instead of dashing on the enemy 
or hanging on their skirts, . . . Captain D'Ur- 
ban sailed away for Ponza, to apprise the Nea- 
politan squadron on that station, and any 
English ships he might meet, of the attack 
upon Capri, and call them to the rescue." The 
enemy cannonaded the landing-place at Capri, 
while a company of voltigeurs, unobserved by 
the Maltese, crept up quietly among the rocks, 
and had taken possession of Ana Capri before 
the dismayed Maltese knew what they were 
about. Major Hammill was killed, and his men 
fled with all speed. Three companies of the 
Corsican Rangers under Captain Church had 
been sent to help the Maltese, but when the 
French scaled the cliffs these companies were 
watching the paths below. Two of them 
effected their retreat, unperceived by the 
enemy. Captain Church, with the third, 
found that his company was cut off from 
the others and his retreat intercepted. What 
was to be done ? 

He, with his little force, remained quiet till 
eight o'clock in the evening, hoping that the 
enemy would re-embark, and leave them free 
to descend the rocky stairs and rejoin their 
friends at Capri below. But just then the 
moon rose, and under her calm clear light 


the enemy were to be seen forming into 
columns, and advancing across the plain, with 
beat of drum and fire of musketry. " Finding 
all hopes of defending the post I occupied 
entirely dissipated," he says in his report, " I 
threw the gun I had with me into the sea, and 
commenced my retreat by the left, marching 
through the vineyards and narrow roads lead- 
ing from Dama Conta to the Capo di Monte, 
the only retreat I had left, all others being 
occupied by the enemy." But, to his amaze- 
ment, they had not gone a quarter of a mile 
when they were met by a challenge. They 
had marched straight upon a large body of 
French troops ! Richard Church's ready wits 
did not desert him : reflecting that the dark 
uniforms of his Corsicans would be a protection, 
he answered readily in French that they were 
French troops pushing on to rejoin their com- 
rades below ; and as Murat had a regiment of 
Corsican sharpshooters, they were allowed to 
pass without difficulty. But the red uniforms 
of some Maltese who were following them dis- 
covered the trick, and brought down a volley 
upon the adventurous captain and his men, 
doing no harm, however, for the Corsicans 
knew the country, and speedily dispersed 
among the sheltering rocks. 

But to descend the rocky stairs to Capri was 


manifestly impossible, and yet to Capri they 
were bound to go. There was nothing for 
it but to climb down the face of the rock 
which divides Ana Capri from Capri ; and this 
they did, scrambling along a goat-track through 
the darkness, clinging to bush here, to crag 
there : not daring to speak even in whispers ; 
feeling sometimes that all was up with them if 
a pebble, dislodged from its place, bounded 
echoing down the cliff; and at last finding 
themselves safely at the bottom, with the loss 
of only one poor fellow whose foot slipped, and 
who was killed by falling from the rocks into the 
valley below. 

This daring feat received its due meed of 
praise from the colonel and commandant, Hud- 
son Lowe. " Captain Church's exertions," he 
reports, " were peculiarly conspicuous. The 
orderly retreat of this detachment, through 
parties of the enemy and down precipices here- 
tofore deemed impracticable, forms the highest 
eulogium on the officer who guided it. They 
had been twenty hours under arms and in 
constant movement." 

The garrison of Lower Capri held out against 
the French for a fortnight, but then was obliged 
to capitulate and withdraw to Sicily. Richard 
Church was wounded in the head by < the last 
shot fired by the enemy, but was soon well 


enough to ride across the island to Messina, 
where he became assistant - quartermaster - 
general under Colonel Bunbury. 

We will now pass over a year, and come to 
Richard Church's life in the Ionian Isles, a 
time which he always looked back upon with 
keen pleasure. English troops, among whom 
were the Corsican Rangers, sailed in September 
1808 from Sicily under sealed orders, and 
attacked Zante, then occupied by the French, 
who, being taken by surprise, capitulated : 
Cefalonia, Ithaca, and Cerigo followed. Rich- 
ard Church led the landing at Zante, and drew 
up the terms of surrender. He also commanded 
at Ithaca, and " made the French commander 
surrender unconditionally." Sir H. Bunbury 
says : " Besides the advantage of ports and 
supplies for the English squadron in those 
seas, we found warm friends in the islanders, 
a people hating the French, and earnestly 
desirous to assist us in driving them out." 
For five years Richard Church's life was spent 
in active service in those beautiful islands. 
" It was work that was in every way suited 
to his special capacity ; it tended more than 
any other experience to confirm the high 
opinion which he had, from the very first 
contact, formed of the Greeks, and which 
moulded the whole course of his later life. 


His genius lay in the command and discipline 
of native regiments ; he seemed to possess a 
potent charm which gave him ascendancy over 
rough and untutored ragamuffins, whom none 
but he could convert into something like orderly 
troops. Hardly had he arrived on the shores 
of Greece than he began to prepare for the 
levy of native regiments." He began " a 
series of inquiries into the condition and re- 
sources of the Ionian Islands and the adjacent 
mainland, and to report the results, illustrated 
by plans and maps of Corfu, Zante, Santa 
Maura, &c., to General Coffin at Messina. . . . 
In 1810-11, he was hard at work raising a force 
of 900 men," called the Duke of York's Greek 
Light Infantry, and under his command they 
assaulted and took the fortress of Santa Maura ; 
" but in the moment of victory Church's sabre 
was smashed by grape, and his left arm at the 
same instant shattered by a bullet. For two 
months he was seriously ill ; . . . but in the 
summer of 1811 was allowed to go on leave, 
. . . and with two companions he rode through 
Northern Greece, Thessaly, and Macedonia, visit- 
ing Delphi, Chaeroneia, Thermopylae, Pharsalia, 
Philippi, and other homes of classical associa- 
tions ; at Constantinople he found a hospitable 
welcome at the Embassy, and began a lifelong 
friendship with Stratford Canning, the twenty- 


four -year -old minister at the Porte [Church 
himself was about twenty-six], while a row up 
the Bosphorus to the murmuring rocks of Jason, 
and an excursion to Smyrna and Magnesia, com- 
pleted a tour replete with intense interest to 
Church's romantic imagination." l 

He returned to the Ionian Islands, and is 
able to write in November 1811 : 

I am now full and approved major in his Majesty's 
service, and commanding a regiment originally raised, 
organised, and disciplined by myself. 

He adds : 

To you, mother, I do not boast ; but I have now, 
thank God, . . . converted these men from the most 
lawless of mankind, not only into good soldiers, but 
also into praiseworthy members of civilised society. 
These men, who once knew no law but the sword, are 
now the admiration of the inhabitants for their correct, 
quiet, and obedient conduct. . . . Should Government 
wish for men, I will answer from my character alone 
in this country to raise 6000 or 8000 men in as many 

General Oswald encouraged him to form a 
second regiment, to be placed under his orders 
as lieut. -colonel, and he eagerly set about it. 
In June 1813 a despatch from Lord Palmerston 
gave him the necessary permission, and there 
was no difficulty in finding volunteers to fill 

1 Sir Kicharcl Church. By Stanley Lane-Poole. 


the ranks. It is striking to find the names 
of many of the leaders in the Greek War of 
Independence among the recruits of Zante. 
But in 1814, peace came and put an end to 
military operations. The Greek regiments 
were disbanded, the men went home, the 
young colonel's occupation was at an end, 
and a good deal of money spent in recruit- 
ing was lost. However, he was thanked and 
praised and congratulated by the commander- 
in-chief and others in authority. 







THE Peninsular War was over ; but the monot- 
onous course of ordinary military service was 
by no means to Richard Church's mind. And, 
as it happened, a more adventurous course 
opened before him, under his friend and fellow- 
countryman, Count Nugent. During his leave 
of absence in 1813, he writes from Vienna to 
Colonel Bunbury : 

Lord Castlereagh . . . has given me a commission 
equally nattering as agreeable. He has directed me to 
proceed to join General Nugent, with whom I am at 
present here. We leave to-day for Agram, and the 
corps under his command is destined to open the com- 
munication with the Adriatic, &c. 

His brother, John Dearman Church, in a 


letter in 1813 to the lady who became his 
wife, playfully defending his country, says : 

John Bull without Paddy would do badly. It is 
the sons of Paddy that have driven Buonaparte to the 
Pyrenees ! You find those clever fellows in all parts 
of the world: another Paddy is driving the French 
from the south of Italy, General Nugent, with whom is 
another Paddy, my brother Dick. By last accounts he 
was at Fiume, acting with the Austrian army under 
General Nugent against Beauharnais. 

Richard Church felt a warm and enthusiastic 
friendship for his brilliant, dashing country- 
man, which w 7 as kept up through life ; but 
his remarks on the Austrian army are the 
reverse of complimentary. " My proceedings 
will depend on having a command that is 
not subject to any Austrian general, General 
Nugent excepted," he says. However, the 
Austrians under Nugent did brilliantly, drove 
the enemy from before Carlstadt, occupied 
Fiume, and opened communications with the 
British fleet in the Adriatic. 

After the disbanding of his Greek regiment, 
Richard was summoned to the Congress at 
Vienna, November 1814, to make his report on 
the Ionian Islands. Next came the news of 
Buonaparte's escape from Elba in the following 
spring, and at Nugent's special request Richard 
Church went with him as British Military 


Resident with the division of the Austrian 
army which was to act against Murat. 

His reports from headquarters to Lord Stewart at 
Vienna have been preserved, and form a connected 
narrative of a short, little-known campaign, in which 
Murat's army was driven from Mantua to Naples. . . . 
Step by step the Austrians and Tuscans, in a series of 
small engagements, pressed " King Joachim " south- 
ward, while Nugent and Church, marching with their 
customary rapidity 100 miles in three days, occupied 
Eome and prepared for the advance upon Naples. The 
usurper's army was gradually melting away ; 400,000 
had dwindled to 10,000, and when Nugent with but a 
tenth of their number forced battle on the Neapolitans 
at Miguano near San Germano, hardly 700 escaped to 
announce the destruction of " the Army of the Interior." 
The remnant capitulated at Capua; Murat took to 
flight, and the imperial army escorted Prince Leopold 
of Sicily into Naples. . . . Church's conduct received 
the unqualified approbation of the general commanding 
the forces in Sicily, and the thanks of the king; he 
was decorated with the Order of the Fleur-de-Lys, and 
created major-general by his restored Neapolitan 
majesty, Ferdinand IV. 1 

Next we hear of Richard in Provence, still 
with Nugent, helping to put down Buona- 
parte's adherents ; and here happened an in- 
cident which is perhaps worth relating. There 
is a square copper tablet, preserved in the 
family, which he always prized, and which lies 

1 Sir Eichard Church. By Stanley Lane-Poole. 


before me now. Upon it is engraved these 
words : 


Richard Church tells its history in despatches 
to Lord Burghersh from Nice, July 1815. "I 
have the honour to inform your lordship that 
I arrived at this place in the Undaunted, frigate, 
Captain Smith, on the night of the 19th inst., 
having come on before General Nugent and 
the convoy with troops on board from Naples 
and Genoa, in order to make some necessary 
dispositions in the place." He tells how, pend- 
ing Count Nugent's arrival, he requisitioned 
1200 men from the governor, and how, on the 
Count's arrival, he, with Captain Smith, sailed 
to Antibes, and demanded permission of the 
governor there to land and occupy the town. 
But when " Captain Smith and myself went 
on shore, we were received with every mark 
of hostility, and it was evident that the 
white flag which floated on the walls was 
but a shield under which the garrison hoped 
to shelter themselves from an attack by the 
Allies, it having been hoisted but one day 
previous to our arrival." 


The troops were landed, without resistance, 
on the shore close by the monument erected 
to commemorate Napoleon's landing at Elba, 
and took possession of the town and the heights 
round it, and there waited till Count Nugent 
and the rest of the troops arrived, when they 
sat down to besiege the garrison in the fort, 
which before long submitted. But here is the 
story of the copper tablet, in a despatch dated 
before that submission : 

Although perhaps it may not be a subject of import- 
ance sufficient to insert in an official report [modestly 
says the young officer], I have much pleasure in inform- 
ing your lordship that the monument erected by the 
garrison of Antibes at St Juan, where Buonaparte 
landed on his return from Elba, . . . has been destroyed 
by my orders by the loyal inhabitants of the place. 
Underneath it we found a box containing a proc&s 
verbal of the commemoration of the event, signed by 
all the officers of the 87th and 106th, devoting them- 
selves to Napoleon's cause. ... In the same box were 
various gold coins, stars, and crosses, and Eagles of 
the Legion of Honour, and a brass plate [copper] bear- 
ing the inscription, a copy of which I enclose. The same 
regiment forms at present the garrison of Antibes. . . . 
Two of the field officers are now at their headquarters, 
protesting their having been always faithful to the 
king, not knowing that the proc&s verbal ... is now 
in our hands. 

After Murat's flight and execution the 
Bourbons returned to the throne of Naples, 


" having learnt nothing and forgotten nothing." 
Colletta says, " The old kings had governed 
by prestige, the new by force. Prestige had 
vanished. . . . The people were not sorry for 
Murat's fall, but were suspicious of his suc- 
cessor." Perhaps Ferdinand meant what he 
said, when he so readily promised amnesty for 
all past offences, reform of taxes, &c. ; but he 
had to feed and pay the Austrian troops 
who had set him on his throne again ; he had 
heaps of private debts always accumulating in 
that corrupt and luxurious Court. He was 
the laziest, most self-indulgent of men, always 
shutting his eyes to difficulties and shirking 
disagreeables. Therefore he took up first one 
party, then another, and broke faith with any 
one if it suited him at the moment. When he 
was in exile he encouraged the secret societies, 
as we have seen, hoping to use them as a tool 
against the French. So they were exultant at 
his return to the throne, but soon found that 
they were thrown over. 

Of these secret societies the first and oldest 
was the Carbonari or charcoal - burners, to 
which the others seem to have been at times 
affiliated. The Filadelfi, Patrioti Europei, and 
some other societies, aimed at nothing less than 
a universal republic ; but the Carbonari pro- 
fessed constitutional principles. Some of them 


were excellent and honest men, only anxious 
for such reform as might be for the welfare of 
their country, and by no means glad that their 
ranks should become a refuge for the criminal 


and discontented. In 1813 their number had 
increased beyond all bounds, and the leaders 
determined to reform the society. The mem- 
bers who remained kept the name of Carbonari ; 
those who were expelled took that of Calderari. 
There was great hatred between the two bodies, 
and the disorders in the kingdom were worse 
than ever. 

Then Prince Canosa, Minister of Police, 
thought to mend matters by helping on the 
division in their ranks ; so he put himself at the 
head of a reformed secret society, also called 
Calderari. General Church says : 

Canosa thought to make a counterpoise against the 
Carbonari. By his principles man was reduced to abject 
slavery and ignorance ; he was obliged by his oath to 
be faithful, passive, and subservient, whether for right 
or wrong the people were made for the king, and the 
king by divine right could and ought to do whatever 
he pleased with the people. Prerogative was every- 
thing, and by virtue of this same divine right all men 
were considered as blades of grass, bound to kiss the 
earth and never again to rise if it pleased the king to 
put his foot upon their necks ! [cries the sturdy soldier 
who loved all his life to fight for the oppressed people]. 
But [he adds] the good sense of the country revolted 
against the absurd doctrine of Canosa and his Calderari, 


and the king himself, with great good sense, set his face 
against this society and prohibited it. 

And well it was he did so, for instead of the 
other secret societies being in any way checked 
by this new method, there simply grew up a 
crop of spies and informers, and the magistrates 
found that they had one more mysterious foe 
to fight against, and gave up in despair all 
attempts to keep order and punish offences 
for any such attempt brought upon them threat- 
ening letters. As has been said, every male- 
factor belonged to some secret society, and 
every society was bound to protect its members 
against every other authority and under all cir- 
cumstances. This was doubtless the case more 
or less in all parts of the country, but more 
especially in the provinces of Apulia, which so 
swarmed with brigands that travellers dared 
not thread the passes, trade was at an end, 
and the fields lay uncultivated. 

Count Nugent was at Naples, in command 
of the Austrian troops, and his influence 
must have decided Richard Church to take 
service there too ; for Lord Exmouth writes 
advising him to stick to Naples, "under 
Nugent's wing," and his old colonel, Hudson 
Lowe, writes mentioning the consent of the 
Horse Guards to Church's Neapolitan appoint- 
ment. We find him, then, accepting a commis- 


sion as general from King Ferdinand to put 
down and destroy the secret societies with 
which the province of Apulia was infested. He 
was invested with the alter ego, which gave 
him full power to try, condemn, and execute 
all such offenders, without any form of trial. 
Not that General Church (as he was now 
called) ever used this power to its fullest 
extent : he mentions again and again that he 
never put to death even the worst of brigands 
without a fair trial. He has left behind him 
several MS. books relating to this period of his 
life, written in an old-fashioned slanting hand, 
and containing a curious mingling of his own 
adventures, with descriptions of scenery, dis- 
sertations on the history of the province in 
ancient and modern times, accounts of heroes 
of various nations and periods, especially his 
favourite Manfred, explanations of military law, 
and descriptions of the different men with 
whom he came in contact. Out of this mass 
we shall gather enough to show what manner 
of man this was, and what was the material he 
had to work upon. 







WELL, then, let us picture our General on his 
way from Otranto to Naples, travelling with 
post-horses, but in his own carriage, accom- 
panied only by his servant Raphael and his 
aide-de-camp, Captain Quandel a young Swiss 
in the service of the King of Naples, a brave, 
cheery, ready-witted fellow. It was ten o'clock 
at night when they alighted at an old palace 
on the skirts of the town of Cerignola and were 
hospitably received by the padrone, an old Don 
Girolamo, who ushered them across a large 
courtyard, shut in by huge rusty gates, to his 
house. The General tells us that from the front 
door a flight of broad stone steps led to the 
first-floor landing, from which opened a suite 
of immense rooms, adorned with old armour 


and family portraits, and lighted by several high, 
narrow, iron-barred windows. They were evi- 
dently expected, for a fire blazed in the huge 
grate, and several wax tapers shed their cheer- 
ful radiance on the dark old walls a pleasant 
sight to travellers on a chilly stormy night ! 
while the old padrone, excusing himself for the 
non-appearance of supper, left them, promising 
to hasten preparations and return immediately. 

"How is your appetite, Quandel ?" asked 
the General, as he warmed his hands at the 
cheerful blaze. " Supper will be ready soon, I 

trust but what's the matter ? " for the young 

aide-de-camp, who had been seeing to the un- 
packing of the carriage, wore a perplexed and 
troubled aspect, as, shutting the door carefully 
behind him, he approached his chief. 

" Mon General" said the young man, " it's 
all very fine to talk about supper. I doubt if 
we shall have much time for supper ! We are 
likely to get visitors whom we don't want. In 
fact, the Yardarelli are in the neighbourhood." 

" The rascals ! " exclaimed the General. " My 
good fellow, where did you pick up that piece 
of information ? " 

Thereupon Quandel told how, when he paid 
the postilions giving them, as was the Gen- 
eral's fashion, a liberal buona mano he had 
overheard one mutter to the other something 


about the Vardarelli, and the pity it would be 
if so free-handed a gentleman should fall into 
their hands ; whereupon the quick-witted young 
officer called the men back, and said : " Look 
here, my friends, I've made a mistake in the 
dark, I find ; I gave you only 10 carlini, and 
the General bade me give you 20. Here, take 
them, and drink his Excellency's health. You 
may be sure he will give you a good character, 
and when we come back safe, you may look for 
just such another buona mano." 

The postilions looked at each other, hesi- 
tated, peered round in the darkness to be sure 
there were no listeners, then, as they took the 
money and thanked the gentleman, one of them 
whispered : "I heard at the last station that 
Don Gaetano Vardarelli and his band were 
hereabouts. It would be a pity the General 
should come across them he is truly a galant' 
uomo, and we should be sorry if he fell into 
their clutches. Take the warning, signore, and 
good night. The saints protect you ; " and 
they mounted and rode away. 

Here was a pleasant predicament for the 
travellers ! It is true that they were armed, 
but their force consisted only of their two 
selves and one servant, and they were in a 
lonely, defenceless house, and could expect no 
assistance from the poor old proprietor. The 


General twisted his moustache and said, " What 
are we to do ? " 

The aide-de-camp shrugged his shoulders, 
but had no suggestion to offer. " We are 
but three, General," said he, rather ruefully, 
" and we have but three pair of pistols. All 
the doors of this confounded old house are 
rotten ; and as to the staircase, why, it's as 
wide as the staircase at the king's palace no 
hope of defending that ! " 

Just then the door was pushed open, and old 
Don Girolamo entered, cheerful and garrulous, 
ushering in, with many complimentary phrases, 
the sindaco, or chief magistrate, of the neigh- 
bouring town of Cerignola. There followed the 
usual exchange of amenities and introductions, 
after which the sindaco requested to have a 
few words in private with his Excellency, and 
the other two gentlemen withdrew. As soon 
as they had left the room, the poor magistrate 
threw up his hands with a gesture of despair, 
and gasped out, "Eccellenza, we are lost, we are 
lost ! we are all dead men ! The Vardarelli 
are in the town over a hundred of them, in 
Cerignola ! And there are no troops ; all the 
troops are hunting for the brigands some- 
where else. O Signore Generate, what are 
we to do?" 

It was lucky for our General that he had had 


some slight warning of this unpleasant state of 
affairs. It enabled him to suppress all signs 
of dismay or surprise, and to answer cheerfully, 
" How kind of you to come and tell me this, 
signore sindaco! I am so anxious to see these 
Vardarelli, and I did not feel absolutely sure 
where they were to be found. Gaetano and 
his band are not such bad fellows after all, and 
by no means unpopular in this neighbourhood, 
eh, signore sindaco ? " and he looked the magis- 
trate in the face with a meaning air. 

The fact was, that though General Church 
was quite unacquainted with his visitor, he 
knew full well that as the brigands were 
supreme throughout the country, people were 
forced to make a league with them, and to pay 
them tribute to ensure their own safety ; and 
he felt not the slightest doubt that the worthy 
sindaco had taken care, for his own sake, to be 
on the best of terms with the powerful chief of 
the Vardarelli. It was an ugly business, and 
he must get out of it as he best could ; so, 
taking a sudden determination to try what 
audacity would do, our General calmly desired 
the astonished sindaco to go straight back to 
Cerignola and desire the brigand chief to pre- 
sent himself and his band to the English Gen- 
eral, who greatly desired the honour of their 


The poor magistrate remonstrated piteously, 
declaring that he was lost, that he was a dead 
man, that he should infallibly be murdered by 
those rascals. In vain : he was met by a short, 
stern, "Do what I command you, signore sin- 
daco, and do it without delay. This will not 
be your first interview with Don Gaetano Var- 
darelli, I'll be bound ! " 

"It is true, your Excellency," answered the 
poor man, "that I have spoken to him only 
for a moment ! only just " 

" That will do," was the curt reply. 

" Here, Quandel ! " and in five minutes' time 
an order was written by the aide-de-camp, and 
signed by the General, desiring Don Gaetano 
Vardarelli to come immediately, and present 
himself and his whole troop to General Church. 
The order was handed to the sindaco with 
the remark, " As you have paid one visit to 
these gentlemen on your own account, you 
can have no objection to paying them another 
on mine. You can tell the chief that I have 
come here with the friendliest feelings towards 
him in fact, my coming here at all proves 
it. Don't delay a moment in delivering this 
order and message." 

The sindaco made his bow, and a very low 
bow it was, and departed. 

"Now, Quandel," said General Church, when 


he and his aide-de-camp were left alone, " we 
have no time to lose. We have to see if this 
tragedy can be turned into a comedy ! I will 
tell you exactly what to do ; and if we are 
lucky in our first deal, we may win the game. 
Tell Raphael to stand at the head of the stairs, 
and do you take your stand in the ante-room, 
next the supper-room." (The supper-room was 
the centre room of a suite of three, of which 
the one where they were conversing was the 
third, and the ante -room the first.) "Tell 
Raphael to treat those rascals civilly, but to 
keep them on the landing while he summons 
you. Then you must keep them in the ante- 
room while you announce their coming to me. 
Be good-humoured, but don't allow any famil- 
iarity. Let the chief understand that we feel 
the most perfect confidence in him, and are 
quite delighted to see him. When you come 
to me tap gently, and don't be in a hurry to 
tap again if I should not answer you immed- 
iately. Of all things don't seem hurried or 
flustered that would ruin us and bring the 
chief only to me. Let the others wait outside. 
Don't ask any one to sit down, or sit down 
yourself; don't let anything on the supper- 
table be touched a glass of wine might lead 
to quarrelling, and a dispute would be fatal 
to us. Keep up an air of official dignity, and 


if you find the scoundrels more than you can 
manage, retreat in good order upon me, and 
leave me to manage matters. We have our 
swords and pistols, and if the worst comes 
to the worst, we will sell our lives dearly. 
After all, these fellows are in straits I fancy, 
and they may not be sorry to come to terms." 

Having finished his harangue, the General 
looked at the aide-de-camp, and the aide-de- 
camp looked at the General, and then the 
comicality of the whole situation, the foolish- 
ness of having thus put their heads into a 
trap, was really too much for them ! They 
burst out laughing, a regular fit of laughter, 
much to the delight of Don Girolamo, who 
at that moment opened wide the door, cheerily 
announcing, "It is late, your Excellency, and 
the macaroni and fried fish are ready ; and 
capers we are famous for capers here ; and 
mushrooms your Excellency knows we are 
famous for mushrooms. A tavola, a tavola!" 
and he seized the General by the hand to 
lead him into the next room, where the 
supper -table was laid with many kinds of 
fish, fruit, and poultry, besides macaroni and 
the famous mushrooms and capers. 

But alas for the hungry travellers ! Just 
when the old padrone had warned them that 
his wine was a little strong and fiery just 


when he had tucked his white napkin under 
his chin, and was brandishing a huge silver 
spoon wherewith to help the macaroni the 
tramp of horses was heard in the courtyard 
below. Don Girolamo turned pale and dropped 
the spoon. " We are lost! " he gasped. " I am 
a dead man ! Excuse me, General. God pre- 
serve your Excellency ! I must conceal my- 
self ; " and in the twinkling of an eye he had 
disappeared into some secure lurking-place. 

In another moment the sindaco entered to 
announce that he had done the General's bid- 
ding ; but the worthy man could not be per- 
suaded to do more than just enter the room, 
announce the fact, wish his Excellency "felice 
notte" and so depart, glad, doubtless, to be 
well out of the scrape. 

It was now drawing towards midnight, and 
a horrible night it was, with thunder and light- 
ning and torrents of rain. The old padrone and 
his servant were nowhere to be seen, so General 
Church, Captain Quandel, and Raphael took up 
their appointed positions, and waited the coming 
of their visitors. Soon they appeared, some 
remaining outside on horseback to guard the 
gates, while the others, fifty or sixty in num- 
ber, headed by their chief, entered the great 
door, and, firelock in hand, ascended the wide 
staircase. On the landing they were met by 


Raphael, who succeeded in keeping a brave 
front to the foe, though, poor fellow, he was 
secretly in the greatest trepidation. 

General Church observes that talking was 
much more in Raphael's line than fighting, 
but that he had absolute faith in his master's 
good luck, and on this occasion he seems to 
have taken his courage by both hands, and 
played his part of the comedy extremely well. 

With the utmost politeness he barred Don 
Gaetano's way as he was ascending to the 
landing, and requested the signore capitano 
to remain there one moment while his arrival 
was announced to his Excellency the General. 
Don Gaetano, with equal politeness, assented, 
only saying, "You will understand, Signore 
Cameriere, that, with all possible respect for 
his Excellency, prudence requires us to keep 
our eyes open ; " and he sent some of his men 
up-stairs to reconnoitre the upper storey, while 
others took up their station on the landing. 
A wild-looking, picturesque set of fellows they 
were, dressed in velveteen jerkins much adorned 
with braid and buttons, with steeple-crowned 
hats, and belts stuck full of pistols and daggers ; 
also, every one had a sabre at his side, and 
carried in his hand firelock or carbine or rifle. 

General Church heard afterwards that the 
brigands were thoroughly puzzled and aston- 


ished by his bold move, that they were some- 
what inclined to try and come to terms with 
the Government, and that after holding a 
council of war, they determined to accept his 
invitation, but to come armed and in full force, 
in case of treachery. But to go on with our 

Captain Quandel, at Raphael's summons, 
came forth to receive the brigand chief, saying, 
" Enter, Don Gaetano, but be good enough to 
remain here, in the ante-room, while I inform 
his Excellency of your arrival." 

" And my officers, signore ? " 

" With pleasure, Don Gaetano." So four 
tall fellows accompanied their chief, and re- 
mained with him in the ante-room, while 
Quandel crossed the supper-room and knocked 
gently at the General's door. 

Receiving no reply, after a pause he knocked 

" Who is there ? " 

" C'est moi, Excellence" 

" Who is it ? " repeated impatiently. 

" C'est moi, Excellence Quandel." 

" Oh, Quandel ! come in," and he went in, 
closing the door behind him. 

A few rapid sentences sufficed to tell that 
the brigands were there, that they had taken 
possession of the whole house, that they were 


armed to the teeth, but that their behaviour 
was good-humoured and respectful ; and hav- 
ing received directions from General Church, 
Quandel returned and proposed to introduce 
Don Gaetano, who at first demurred to going 
alone, but finally said, "Let us go, signore 
capitano. The General is a galant' uomo. I 
trust in his honour ; " and they went in to- 

It must have been a curious scene ! The 
huge lofty chamber, with its wax candles 
flashing back dim reflections from the old 
armour hanging on the walls, or half-lighting 
up some portrait of grim warrior or stately 
dame dead long ago ; the great open fireplace, 
where burning logs blazed and spluttered ; and 
the two figures who surveyed one another 
curiously : the Englishman, slight, spare, erect, 
with sharp features, and keen dark-blue eyes 
shaded by thick black brows ; he was dressed 
in uniform, his sword by his side, and a pair 
of good English pistols loaded, within reach 
of his hand, as he stood by the tall mantel- 
shelf: and the brigand chief, a splendid figure, 
in his picturesque costume and handsome arms, 
holding in one hand his high plumed hat, in 
the other his loaded carbine. 

He stepped briskly forward with a little 
flourish. " Here I am, your Excellency. I 


am Don Gaetano, the famous chief of the 
Vardarelli, at your Excellency's orders." 

The General returned the salutation with 
equal courtesy. " I am delighted to make 
your acquaintance, Don Gaetano. I have 
heard of you as a brave and humane man, 
and I wish much to do you a good turn, if 
you will only alter your way of fighting. 
What shall I say about you to the King?" 

The brigand drew up his tall figure with a 
haughty air. "Your Excellency is really too 
good. I have nothing to ask for. I don't 
know whom your Excellency calls the king. 
Am not I King of Apulia ? Have not I 
beaten three royal generals ? The flocks of 
Apulia are mine, the people own my sway, I 
can help myself to the travellers' purses if I 
choose, all the nobles and gentry of the pro- 
vince hold me -in awe. Your Excellency must 
know that Ferdinand can do nothing against 
me ; " and he brought the butt - end of his 
carbine down on the floor with a force that 
threatened damage to the old planks. 

But he had to do with a man who was not 
to be daunted by bluster, and the General, 
after surveying his formidable guest, quietly 
replied, " Signore Capitano dei Vardarelli, I 
don't care a fig what you are or what you are 
not. I know this, that you were soundly 


thrashed by Estorio, and by Sannito, and by 
Corre too. Have you then forgotten Alta- 
monte ? Have you forgotten Minerrimo and 
Castel di Monte?" 

"Per Santo Diavolo !" cried the chief, "your 
Excellency speaks truth. But it was a differ- 
ent thing with the gendarmerie, and I may 
speak frankly, since your Excellency is an 
Englishman we were forced to take to our 
heels on those occasions. For the accursed 
wine of the country is strong, very strong, and 
my fellows had taken too much of it, and our 
heads belonged rather to our heels than to our 
hearts ! I would not say so much to any one 
but your Excellency," he added confidentially, 
" but if it were not for myself, my brothers, my 
nephew, and some fifteen more of my followers 
well, all the rest of the band are good for 
nothing ; " and he snapped his fingers in the 
air. "But," he added, "it is time to say 
Addio ; it is late, and we have far to go." 

General Church did not feel that he had 
made much way with his guest ; besides, his 
curiosit} 7 " was not yet satisfied, so he did not 
take the hint. " Come, Don Gaetano," he 
said, " tell me something of your own history 
and mode of living." 

" It is a long story, Signore Generale," 
answered the brigand "too long to be told 


fasting ; besides, your Excellency's patience 
would be tired out. It is enough to say that 
I was once a soldier, and that injustice drove 
me to this life. After all, it is a fine life 
to gallop over the plains, and breathe the fresh 
air of the mountains." 

" Have you shed much blood, Don Gaetano ? " 

"By the Madonna! no, your Excellency. 
Little, very little." 

" If so, why not make your peace with the 
Government ? " 

" Well, Signore Generate, there are difficul- 
ties and this is a good trade, after all. One 
lives like a king, the great people fear us, the 
poor look up to us, the women adore us. We 
get plenty of money, and spend it freely. It's 
no bad thing to be accountable to nobody, and 
above all law ! " cried Don Gaetano. 

General Church's keen eyes rested with a 
certain pleasure on the dashing figure before 
him, but he answered with grave emphasis, 
"As you please, Don Gaetano. If you like 
your trade, stick to it. I am to understand, 
then, that you do not wish me to say anything 
for you at Naples ? " 

" Why, as to that ' the chief hesitated 
and looked askance " I don't quite say that, 
your Excellency. I have spoken to you frankly, 
and I don't mind saying that you may tell 


Ferdinand that I should not object to serve him 
only I must keep the command over Apulia ; 
and if I engage to serve him, I will live and 
die worthy of my name. But I could not come 
in for the sake of a pardon merely. Your 
Excellency knows that I have my enemies, and 
I must take care of myself. I must also always 
go armed because of the vendetta." 

"Take care, my friend," answered the Gen- 
eral ; " you will get yourself into a scrape one 
of these days." 

"Bah!" was the answer. "I don't care a 
fig for all the king's generals put together." 

" Ah, but, my friend," said the General, 
laughing, " / may have to hunt you down 

" Rather any one else, General," with a frank 
smile, "for I have such a respect for your 
Excellency, I should be so truly sorry to fire 
upon you. But if such should be my fate, it 
would be a great honour for me, truly a great 
honour ! " 

" Come, Don Gaetano," said the General, 
who had really taken a liking for the bold 
brigand, " I advise you to submit. Are you an 
outlaw ? " 

" Holy Madonna, yes ! I feel your Excel- 
lency's kindness, but it's of no use." 

" Well, as you will. But I promise you one 


thing a fair trial ; and when I catch you, you 
shall not be hanged ! " 

" I understand your Excellency. I shall at 
least die a soldier's death. I am content." 

" Keep out of my way, Don Gaetano, my 
friend, I beg, or else make your submission," 
cried the General ; " for it would be a real grief 
to me to have to carry the law into force against 
you and I couldn't help it, you know. I have 
no choice. So divert yourself in other parts of 
the kingdom, and don't meddle with my pro- 
vince, if you please ! My soldiers are excellent 
horsemen and marksmen, as you know, and 
when once they put the left foot into the stirrup, 
there'll be no child's play ! Now, will you be 
good enough to parade your squadron for my 
inspection ? " 

" How, your Excellency ? At this time of 
night ? In this tempest ? " 

" Why not ? " was the tranquil reply. " They 
are all here, I believe, and I want to see what 
kind of fellows they are." 

" But your Excellency will be wet to the 

" We are neither made of salt nor of sugar, 
Don Gaetano, so what matters that ? " 

" At your commands then, General ; but give 
me leave first to introduce my officers." 

He put his fingers to his mouth and whistled, 


upon which a tall brigand strode hastily into 
the room, followed closely by Captain Quandel, 
who was alarmed at the shrill whistle, and did 
not know that the brigand chief had a different 
call of this kind for each of his brothers. 

" I perceive," drily remarked General Church 
to his aide-de-camp, " that this tall gentleman 
has not learnt that it is customary to wait to 
be announced." 

He spoke in French, but Don Gaetano under- 
stood him, and was profuse in his apologies for 
this breach of etiquette before he presented 
" My brother, Don Girolamo ; " and after his 
departure, " My brother, Don Geronimo ; " and 
then came the favourite, " My dear brother, 
Don Giovanni." 

Handsome fellows they were, and well 
equipped, especially the last, who received a 
few extra compliments from the General, in 
consideration of his being the chief's best be- 
loved brother. Then a fourth whistle brought 
in the most perfect young dandy and coxcomb 
imaginable, wearing, in addition to the brigand's 
velveteen jerkin, a shirt-collar and frill, which 
had the quaintest effect. His left hand, too, 
was gloved, and his right sparkled with valu- 
able rings. " This is my nephew," quoth Don 
Gaetano, with evident gratification and com- 
placency, as the handsome lad made his bow. 


" He calls himself twenty, but his mother cuts 
him short of that by a couple of years. What 
care I, when he is equally ready to lead the 
dance with a pretty girl, or exchange shots 
with Ferdinand's gendarmerie?" 

" He looks truly a splendid young cavalier," 
said the General with a smile ; and with a few 
kind phrases, and " Grazie, molte grazie," from 
the youth, he too departed. 

Now, our General's spirits rose higher than 
they had done at the beginning of this curious 
scene. Evidently things were going well, and 
he and his guest were on the most friendly 
terms. So far, so good. Still, the danger was 
not over : a trifle might raise the brigand's 
suspicions that they were being tricked ; and 
that, he well knew, would mean death to him 
and Quandel. However, there was no choice 
but to play the game out, win or lose ! 

So he sent for torches, and, while Raphael 
was seeking for some, requested Don Gaetano 
to summon his men, and then came out on the 
landing, accompanied by one of the chief's 
brothers. Some fifteen stout fellows, two of 
them the trumpeters of the band, pulled off 
their high- crowned hats, and greeted him with 
shouts of "Ifoviva! Evviva!" crowding round 
him rather more closely than was pleasant, and 
evidently wishing to attract his notice. He 


gave them a few good-humoured words as they 
all descended the stair together and crossed 
the courtyard to the gates, outside of which 
the men were being mustered, and ranged in 
line on horseback, on the wide road, all facing 
the gateway. Don Gaetano stood beside the 
General and proudly surveyed his troop : the 
smoky red glare of the torches cast fitful 
gleams on the wild faces and arms and ac- 
coutrements ; the lightning flashed, the thun- 
der pealed, the rain fell in torrents. Behind 
stood Quandel, Raphael, and the trembling old 
major-domo, holding the torches and shelter- 
ing them from the storm as well as they could. 
A weird,' strange, picturesque scene more 
pleasant, one would think, in remembrance 
than in reality. We may be very sure that 
the General never forgot that midnight parade ! 
Now Don Gaetano's favourite mare was led 
up, a beautiful creature, black as jet, fleet as 
the wind, having carried her master safe from 
the pursuers many and many a time, and he 
patted her affectionately, and beamed with 
delight at the General's warmly expressed 
admiration ; and when he said in French to 
Quandel, " What a beautiful mare, and worthy 
of so handsome a cavalier ! " and Quandel an- 
swered, " Faith, General, it is a thousand pities 
he is not one of us ! " the brigand chief 



evidently heard, for he smiled and bowed low 
as he sprang into the saddle, and gave the 
signal to his men. They passed before General 
Church slowly, in single file, the trumpeters 
leading, and as they passed, a single brigand 
left his place in the rank, dismounted, dropped 
on one knee, respectfully kissed the General's 
hand, and then, without a word, remounted, 
and fell into rank again ; and soon after an- 
other repeated the same manoeuvre. When all 
had passed a hundred in all, including the 
officers Don Gaetano rode up to General 
Church, alighted, took off his hat, and thus 
addressed him 

" Eccellenza, a little affair requires my pres- 
ence at a distance, and I must now take my 
leave ; but at any hour after daylight an 
escort shall be at your Excellency's orders on 
the road to Ordona, to conduct you safely 
within sight of the post-house, where you will 
probably find some of Ferdinand's soldiers. 
Also, I may assure your Excellency that you 
may pass through this valley in perfect safety 
for some days to come." He smiled, as one 
who knew that the safety of travellers through 
that valley depended upon the Vardarelli being- 
engaged elsewhere. 

" Thanks, Don Gaetano, a thousand thanks," 
was the reply ; then in a lower tone, " Pity 


you should not alter your line of life ; but I 
shall have a good word to say of you at Naples, 
depend upon that." 

"Your Excellency speaks well and who 
knows ? Perhaps yes perhaps no ! If the 
conditions please me but Ferdinand must 
remember that Apulia is mine ! " 

"One moment," said the General: "who 
were those two men who dismounted and 
saluted me ? " 

" Austrian deserters Tyrolese by birth. 
Does your Excellency desire an escort ? " 

" No, no, Don Gaetano. There may be 
troops " (meaningly) " nearer than you think, 
and I should be sorry to get your fine fellows 
into a scrape." 

"A thousand thanks for your Excellency's 
consideration. Now I have thirty miles to ride 
before daybreak, and I shall want all my force. 
Allow me again to recommend myself to your 
Excellency's consideration and to kiss your 
hand." He kissed the General's hand, his 
brothers and nephew followed his example, and 
then with " Addio, addio, Eccellentissimo Sig- 
nore Generale ! May your Excellency live in 
prosperity a thousand years! Addio, addio!" 
he mounted and disappeared at a rapid pace, 
followed by all his band. 

There was a pause, while the General and 


his aide-de-camp stood looking along the road 
which their strange visitors had taken. The 
last echoes of their horse-hoofs died away, the 
torches spluttered and burnt low, the storm 
continued as violent as ever, and the General 
turned to re-enter the house ; and as he 
entered the door he turned to his young com- 
panion arid said, " Let us thank God, Quandel, 
that the play is over and we are safe, and 
there's no further occasion to stand out in the 
rain ! Let us go up -stairs and finish that 

The first thing was to unearth poor old 
Signore Girolamo, and that took some ten 
minutes of searching and shouting. At last, 
however, he crept out of a cellar, rushed into 
General Church's arms and embraced him, 
heaping blessings on the Madonna, who had 
preserved them all, and then they all joyfully 
proceeded to the supper-room. One would 
think the viands must have been perfectly 
cold by this time, but the hungry General 
does not mention this fact, and dwells on the 
excellence of the food, and the wine, and the 
old padrone's stories of old times of the 
Saracens, and Manfred, and the cruel Charles, 
and the fate of the young Conradin. Then 
the old gentleman insisted on drinking to the 
memory of Gonzalo di Cordova, the great 


captain who defeated the French on the plain 
of Cerignola, not far from this very palazzo, 
and of various other worthies, winding up 
with a bumper to the health of the present 
king ; after which, the good wine having done 
its work, he fell back in his arm-chair, and in 
two minutes was fast asleep. 

" Now, my dear Quandel," said the General, 
"go to the post - house and get horses as 
quickly as possible." 

"Now, General? to-night?" The young 
man looked decidedly rueful at the prospect 
of leaving these comfortable quarters. 

" Yes, now, immediately. I don't distrust 
Gaetano himself, but as to those rascals of his, 
they are as likely as not to quarrel with him 
for letting us slip through their fingers, and 
insist on coming back to look us up. We 
should be fools to risk it. The coast is clear 
now, for they will feel sure of our being in 
bed till daybreak. Go, order the horses ; tell 
Raphael not to light the carriage-lamps, and 
take care there is no cracking of postilions' 
whips or lighting of cigars." 

So Quandel went, while the General helped 
to carry the padrone up to bed, slipped a 
gratuity into the old major-domo's hand, left 
messages of thanks and compliments to his 
sleeping host ; and in a quarter of an hour 


the carriage was ready, and off the travellers 

" Now, Quandel," said the General, when 
they were on their way, " we had better ar- 
range that one of us should sleep while the 
other watches." But one was sound asleep al- 
ready, and the General, after contemplating the 
young aide-de-camp's sleeping form with an 
indulgent smile, took the watching upon him- 
self, and they rolled swiftly and silently along 
the road which led towards Naples. 

Of these Vardarelli, General Church says : 
" They harassed the provinces, fought the 
troops, robbed right and left, but seldom if 
ever committed murder in cold blood." After 
a while they made up their minds to submit 
to the Government, and make terms of peace. 
An unpublished letter, dated March 18, 1818, 
says : 

A year and a half ago there was in this valley of 
Bovino a desperate chieftain, Gaetano Vardarelli. . . . 
He fought against the king with such success that the 
Government entered into a convention, agreeing to pay 
him a certain monthly sum, Vardarelli engaging on his 
part to protect the valley of Bovino. . . . Subsequently 
the Vardarelli refused to act according to the orders of 
the Government. General Church was sent for. . . . 
He said, " I give no opinion as to what has been done ; 
but if Vardarelli does not keep to his convention, make 
him ! " The fellow, when he found General Church 
was sent against him, thought proper to obey. . . . 


Vardarelli's sister was one of his troop, and fought as 
a man, but was wounded in an affair with the king's 
troops. Not being able to carry her away, he killed her, 
to prevent her falling into the hands of the soldiers. 

There is something about Gaetano Vardar- 
elli which gives one an interest in him, and 
one cannot help feeling sorry when one hears 
the end of his history, which shall be given in 
General Church's own words : 

Don Gaetano, his brother, and most of his band, lost 
their lives in the village of Urruri, in the Abruzzi, 
where on a former occasion they had committed ex- 
cesses which were not forgotten by the inhabitants. 
They had returned there with confidence, as they had 
been pardoned, and were now in the service of the 
Government. But the inhabitants, calling to mind 
their former bad conduct, laid an ambuscade for them, 
and one morning, as they mounted their horses and 
blew their trumpets, they were surprised by a discharge 
of musketry from all the windows by which they were 
surrounded, and Don Gaetano and most of his baud 
thus lost their lives. 

Truly, poor Don Gaetano had cause for his 
fears of the vendetta overtaking him, even if 
he held his pardon from the Government ! 

As to the rest of the band, they met with 
a more dreadful fate a few years later, being 
smoked to death in a cellar in which they had 
taken refuge, after a fight with some of the 
Government troops. But with this General 
Church had nothing to do. 






THE Vardarelli chieftain and his band may 
have carried with them a certain glamour of 
romance, which reminds one of Robin Hood 
and his merry men ; though, as " a person who 
had suffered by their misdeeds justly observed, 
it was very easy to give 100 ducats to the 
poor, out of the thousands stolen from the 
rich ! " But there were other bands which 
had not even this glamour about them, and 
who deserved nothing but to be hunted down 
like savage and treacherous beasts of prey. 

There were many secret societies, as has 
been said before. Among them all there was 
none so dreadful as that of the Decisi, founded 
by Giro Annichiarico. 

There lies before me a sheet of paper, yellow 


with age, inscribed with characters and flour- 
ishes somewhat faded, but clear and legible 
enough, which is the diploma or commission 
of a member of the secret society of the Decisi 
" Decided ruffians " General Church translates 
their title. 

The diploma bears in each of the upper 
corners a death's-head rudely drawn in pen 
and ink, and in each of the lower corners two 
marrow -bones crossed and tied together by 
ribbons of red, yellow, and light blue. It is 
bordered by lines of these same colours red 
yellow, light blue, and in each corner, above 
the death's-head or below the marrow-bones, is 
a word, " Tristezza Morte Terrore Lutto." 
Near the upper right-hand corner, within a 
double circle, bearing a wreath of leaves, are 
two axes and the fasces, with the cap of Lib- 
erty stuck upon the top ; a skull below, and the 
characters D L A A, of which I can find no ex- 
planation. Near the lower right-hand corner 
is a corresponding circle, with round balls 
representing thunderbolts, and zigzag lines 
representing lightning striking a royal, an 
imperial, and a papal crown ; the legend is 
" S. D. del Tuonante Giove" that is, Societa 
Deciso del Tuonante Giove." This was the 
seal of the society. The diploma belongs to 
Gaetano Caffieri, registrar of the dead, which 


signifies that his special duty was to keep a 
list of all the victims murdered by the society. 
It was taken, with other papers, at Grottaglia, 
as we shall hear presently. It is headed by 
the following initials : LDDTGSAFGCIT 
D U G S E D, which stand for " La Decisione 
del Tuonante Giove Spera a fare Guerra contro 
i Tiranni dell' umane Genere. Salute e De- 
cisione." These letters and most of the other 
initials are written in blood, and the rest of the 
paper sets forth that Gaetano Caffieri is a 
Fratello Deciso, and invites all philanthropic 
societies to help him at need, as he has deter- 
mined to obtain liberty or death. It is signed 
by Pietro Gargara, grand-master, by Yito de 
Serio (we shall hear of him again too, by-and- 
by), and by Gaetano Caffieri himself. There 
are four dots beneath the signature of Pietro 
Gargaro, which indicate his power of passing 
sentence of death. When the Decisione wrote 
to any one to extort money, or to issue any 
other command, if these four dots were added, 
he understood that death would follow dis- 
obedience ; if the dots were not added, some 
milder punishment, such as burning his house 
or laying waste his fields, would ensue. 

There were various preliminaries to be gone 
through before a man could become a fratello 
of the Decisi. He must first be able to prove 


that he had committed two murders with his 
own hand, in cold blood, and he must present 
a petition for the honour of being admitted 
into the body. The next step was as fol- 
lows : 

The Fratelli Decisi being assembled to- 
gether and the petition read, the grand-master 
No. 1 was to sound the trumpet and say, 
" Attend, O Fratelli Decisi, put yourselves in 
order, with your arms prepared, for ihefazione 
morta" (the sentinel, who let no one pass 
without his diploma) " has notified that a 
pagan presents this petition. He stands with- 
out, desiring to enter : if it be your will to 
admit him, well ; if not, speak." If there was 
no reply, the grand-master blew the trumpet 
again, and the candidate was brought in blind- 
fold. Then followed severe questioning, threats, 
and bodily tortures, to see what metal he was 
made of; and if he still stoutly declared that 
he was determined to belong to the order, a 
last attempt to shake his resolution was tried. 
The grand-master cried out with a loud voice, 
" So you are determined to be a member of our 
society ! Seize him, comrades, and tear him to 
pieces ; let no vestige of his body be found : 
he is a scoundrelly republican, an enemy to 
the king. Tremble, O man, who hast had the 
boldness to declare thy sentiments in our pres- 


ence ! But this is not enough. In a few hours 


thou shalt see thy family destroyed, and thy 
possessions laid waste, and all thy relations 
shall be infamously put to death ! " 

If the petitioner still did not flinch from 
these threats, the grand - master went on : 
" The pagan braves it out. Draw up in order, 
comrades ; be ready at the sound of the squillo." 
The candidate was then placed in the centre, 
the fratelli gathered round him, the bandage 
was taken off his eyes. On all sides he saw 
dark faces, carbines pointed towards him, a 
finger laid on every trigger, the grand-master 
standing ready to sound the fatal blast. 

This was the last trial. If he stood this, 
he was accepted as a worthy member of the 
band of ruffians, and the diploma, with its 
ghastly emblems and characters written in 
blood, was drawn up and signed and handed to 

Here is a translation of a petition which was 
found at Grottaglia among other papers belong- 
ing to the Decisi : 

I, Francesco Perrone, of the city of Taranto, submit 
myself in everything and for everything that the society 
of the Decisi may desire, and as far as my strength will 
allow of my exact performance. I hope, therefore, 
from your goodness, that I may enter and share in your 
sacred mysteries of the said society, with the peace and 
satisfaction of all the members composing it ; so that I 


may give proof of my sincere sentiments, and over- 
throw the enemies of humanity, the King and the 

Salute e Decisione ! 

I, Francesco Perrone, desire as above. 

The number of the Decisi being small, they 
easily recognised each other. Besides, they 
had special signs, made by different motions of 
the fingers the parola di necessita, the signo 
di salute, and others. This was the signo di 
salute : The right hand was laid on the breast, 
with the thumb bent underneath ; then the 
hand was raised to the hat, with the thumb 
under the brim, the hat was taken off and re- 
placed, and the hand brought down to a level 
with the thigh. 

If you wished to discover whether a man 
was a fratello or pagano, you accosted him 
thus : 

Q. " From what country are you ? " 

A. " From the world." 

Q. " Have you brothers ? " 

A. " I have two." 

Q. "How old are they?" 

A. "A century." 

At times an unfortunate victim who had in 
some way offended against the regulations of 
the society was dragged, bound and blind- 
folded, before their court of judgment, called 


La Decisione. Then a trumpet, called the 
squillo, was blown four times. At the first 
blast the assassins unsheathed their poniards ; 
at the second they aimed them towards the 
victim ; at the third they drew close round 
him ; at the fourth they all, beginning with 
the director of funeral ceremonies, plunged 
them into his body. 

But death was not always inflicted thus, 
with a certain decorous solemnity, and to the 
sound of the trumpet, after sentence pronounced 
in the Decisione. Often, very often, it was in 
revenge for some quarrel, or it was the work of 
a hired assassin, or some individual plunderer, 
who sheltered himself under the dreaded name 
of the Fratelli Decisi. Sometimes tortures 
were inflicted or murder committed out of 
mere wanton cruelty. At one time it was 
necessary for the Government to make a law 
that any one in the dress of Policinello found 
with arms about him should be summarily put 
to death, because these brigands were in the 
habit of using this grotesque disguise to enable 
them to mingle with the country-folk at mar- 
ket or merry-making as welcome and unsus- 
pected guests ; then all of a sudden the 
laughter was turned to shrieks of terror, and 
the Policinelli would rush from the scene, 
leaving some of the guests wounded or dying. 


The General tells a gruesome story of how 
one winter night there came a knocking at the 
door of a farmhouse, where a merry party were 
celebrating the wedding feast of the farmer's 
only daughter, and how the door opened, and 
the long nose and gay cap of Policinello peeped 
in, and was greeted with shouts of welcome 
and clapping of hands. They danced, they 
sang, they drank, they screamed with laughter 
at his witty sallies and grotesque contortions. 
Then all of a sudden the scene was changed. 
Unnoticed by the merry throng, other masked 
figures had silently entered the room and 
mingled with the guests. Another moment 
and the men were seized, bound, dragged into 
one room the women dragged into another, 
bound, slashed with stilettoes, treated with 
every indignity, the bride and bridegroom, 
and her old father, killed. Finally, the 
wretches decamped, after drinking all the wine 
that remained, and carrying off all the valu- 
ables they could lay their hands upon. For- 
tunately this happened while General Church 
was in power, and he relates with much 
satisfaction that within a week the whole 
band of miscreants were seized and " made to 
grin after another fashion." They had laid 
aside their masks to carouse with greater 
comfort, and this made identification easy ! 


Let us go back to the petition presented by 
Francesco Perrone, and see in what manner his 
diploma which, by the way, he only kept for 
some six months was gained. 

There was a certain old Signore dell' Aglio, 
a gentleman of Franca villa, whose life had for 
many years been a burden to him, because of 
the threats and exactions of the brigands. 
Again and again had he received letters, and 
had had to buy his life for such or such a sum 
of money. Still, he paid the money when it 
was demanded, with some grumbling no doubt, 
but with the feeling that while he paid he was 
under protection, and could walk the streets of 
the little town, or visit his vineyard, or stop to 
chat with a friend, in tolerable safety at least 
as long as it was daylight. But at length he 
grew tired of these perpetual exactions, and 
determined to keep his life safe by shutting 
himself up altogether and for four years he 
kept to this resolution, never stirring outside 
his own house, where he lived with his old 
sister, her maid, and his man-servant. Friends 
came to visit the old gentleman, doubtless all 
the gossip of the little town was faithfully 
retailed by the old servants ; but summer or 
winter, rain or shine, he was not to be per- 
suaded to put his foot outside his door. 

Then there came reports of a new secret 


society, more terrible, more bloodthirsty, more 
mysterious than any of the old ones had been. 
Its chief and founder, the Abbate Giro An- 
nichiarico, was said to be more than mortal. 
Strange stories were told of his sudden appear- 
ances and disappearances : he had been seen 
here, and in a miraculously short space of time 
he was heard of miles away ; some one had 
ventured to speak against him in a company 
of friends, and had never been seen alive again. 
It was said that though he was chief of the 
new society of the Decisi, all the other and 
older bodies owed him some kind of allegiance, 
and that his spies were everywhere. 

When the Signore dell' Aglio heard of these 
things his heart failed within him. He had 
new and stronger bolts and bars put to all 
his doors and windows ; and he commanded 
that as soon as the rim of the sun touched 
the blue waters of the bay, every shutter 
should be put up, every window barred, every 
door locked and bolted fast ; no one was to 
go out or come in from sunset to sunrise in 
the Casa dell' Aglio. His dearest friend might 
travel twenty miles to see him, but if he 
reached that house after sunset no tugging 
at the ponderous knocker, no clanging at the 
rusty bell, would be of the least avail. Per- 
haps if he went on long enough a voice, shrill 



or surly, as it happened to belong to the 
signer's man or the signora's maid, might bid 
him begone and not keep honest folks out of 
their beds after nightfall ; or in the latter 
case there might be a little colloquy. 

" Per donate, signore ma impossibile ! " 

" But, my good woman, you know me ! H 
Signore , your master's old friend ! " 

" Perdonate, signore e impossibile." 

" But I have come far and the twilight has 
scarce commenced." 

" Mille per done, signore ma." And no 
amount of pleading, or reasoning, or remon- 
strance would get beyond that " e impossibile!" 

The old gentleman, sitting in his arm-chair 
up-stairs, enjoyed these conferences hugely. A 
shrill tone would catch his ear, and he would 
rub his hands, and say with a chuckle, " Truly 
it is grievous to lead so lonely a life, and to 
refuse my kind friends ; but what would you 
have ? Who was it, Marta ? " or " Giacomo ? 
Ah, how I should have enjoyed a chat ! But, 
pazienza 'tis safer as we are ! " 

Never but once did the Signore dell' Aglio 
depart from the rule which he had laid down 
never but once, and that once cost him his 

We have s,een that Francesco Perrone was 
anxious to become a Fratello Deciso. Now he 


was a notorious ruffian, who had been concerned 
in many a murderous fray, but he had not yet 
managed to find opportunity of committing two 
murders in cold blood, with his own unaided 
hand. So he cast about for victims, and why 
he fixed upon poor old DelF Aglio it is impos- 
sible to say. He certainly can have had no 
feeling of^enmity towards him, for the two men 
were absolutely unacquainted with each other. 
One would almost say he was actuated by the 
spirit of the chase, and determined to hunt 
down so difficult a prey as poor old DelF Aglio. 
" Indeed these wretches seem to have mur- 
dered de gaiete de cceur" says General Church. 

For three whole months he haunted about 
the Casa dell' Aglio, but the padrone never 
set foot out of doors, and a perfect stranger 
like Perrone had not a chance of getting in. 
So he changed his tactics, and leaving Franca- 
villa, he travelled to Naples, where dwelt a 
brother of Dell' Aglio's to whom he was fond- 
ly attached. When there, Perrone contrived 
somehow to scrape acquaintance with this 
brother, to visit at his house, and to obtain 
specimens of his handwriting. 

Some of these Decisi were men of good edu- 
cation, and lived in the towns, apparently lead- 
ing lives of peaceful citizens, or following honest 
trades, and Perrone was soon able to copy the 


handwriting of his new acquaintance, at least 
perfectly enough to deceive an old man, half- 
blind, like Sigiiore dell' Aglio. 

One day there came a letter to Franca villa, 
purporting to come from Signore dell' Aglio's 
brother at Naples, to say that he was seriously 
ill, quite unable to travel, and that having 
some very important matters to communicate 
matters which he could not venture to trust to 
the ordinary post he would send a trusted 
messenger with a confidential letter to be de- 
livered into his brother's own hands. Further- 
more, he begged his dear brother, our Signore 
dell' Aglio, to write to the enclosed address at 
Barletta, fixing the time and place where he 
would see this messenger in private. 

The poor old gentleman fell into the trap. 
How could the most wily fox have suspected 
there was a trap ? One is astonished at the 
amount of trouble, the ingenuity, the time 
spent in fashioning such a snare ! 

So one November evening, just a little after 
sunset it was some way to Barletta, and a 
stranger, not knowing the rules of the house, 
might be excused from being a little late 
Perrone knocked at the great door, and with 
a thrill of triumph heard the great bolts drawn 
back and the key turned to admit him. The 
old man-servant was not there, but the signora's 


old maid let him in, and bade him follow her 
up-stairs, first taking good care that the door 
was fast bolted and barred behind them. Up- 
stairs sat old Dell' Aglio and his sister, each in 
a large arm-chair on either side of the cheery 
wood-fire. A third chair was placed between 
them for the guest, and a table with refresh- 
ments drawn up near the hearth. All looked 
cosy and homely a pleasant sight on a No- 
vember evening, when a drizzling rain beat 
against the windows, and no moonlight lay 
fair over the sleeping sea. 

The old gentleman and his sister turned to 
greet their guest, with a pleasant sense of 
novelty in seeing a stranger from the world 
without, and some one who could give them 
news of their brother, and who brought with 
him a letter which would explain the former 
mysterious message. After a little friendly 
talk, the old signore asked for his brother's 
letter, and the stranger rising, delivered him 
a sealed packet, which Signore dell' Aglio took, 
putting on his spectacles, and bending over 
the light to read it better. But in a moment 
he lifted his grey 'head with a perplexed ex- 
pression. " Signore," he said, " there is some 
mistake. This is not my letter," and he held 
up the enclosure. It was a blank sheet of 
paper ! 


" A mistake ? Ay, truly, so it seems. But 
if the letter is not meant for you, this is," 
and in a moment the assassin's right hand 
had plunged a stiletto into the heart of the 
old gentleman, while his left hand stabbed 
the old lady in like manner. Then taking a 
light, he made his way down-stairs, opened 
the door, and left the house to pen the peti- 
tion which we have already heard of, proudly 
conscious that by these two lucky strokes he 
had rendered himself eligible at once for ad- 
mission into the brotherhood of the Decisi. 

There followed the usual proces verbal, and 
Perrone was suspected of being the author 
of the crime, but the terror inspired by the 
Decisi caused the matter to be hushed up at 
the time. Then when General Church came 
on the scene Perrone disappeared. 

The General marched about, here and there, 
going from village to village, making inquiries, 
hearing complaints. On one occasion, when 
an old man had been murdered with circum- 
stances of especial barbarity, and the only 
person who could know anything of the crime, 
his only son, solemnly swore that he was 
quite unable to identify the murderers, the 
General took the course of sending the young 
man to prison, and bringing him before the 
Military Tribunal on a charge of having mur- 


dered his own father. People cried out at 
this, for the two were known to have been 
devoted to each other, and the young man 
was both pitied and liked ; but the General 
knew what he was about. The youth begged 
to be allowed to confess to a priest, and having 
done so, returned to the court and told all 
the horrible story clearly and firmly, explain- 
ing that in the midst of fearful tortures, the 
father had bound the son by an oath never 
to reveal the names of the murderers, this 
being the only way to save the young man's 
life. But since the priest had absolved him 
from this, he was ready to speak freely. But 
this is by the way. 

One uncommonly fine morning in March 
1818, the year following that of Dell' Aglio's 
murder, General Church and a small body 
of troops were marching from Francavilla to 
Ostuni. They were not marching along the 
highroad, for the General much preferred cross- 
cuts and forest roads when he was on the 
look-out for this kind of game ; and now, after 
a wild bit of pathway, they came to a walled 
field, with a gate at each end of it through 
which they had to pass. They were in ex- 
cellent spirits, as gay as the lark which rose 
up just at their feet, and soared, singing, up 
into the clear air. The men were in front, 


the General rode behind, chatting with several 
gentlemen of the province who had volun- 
teered to be of his company. 

They were crossing the field, and had nearly, 
reached the second gate, when somebody noticed 
a man who suddenly jumped over the wall at 
a little distance, and stood as if irresolute 
whether to advance or retreat. Of course to 
turn and fly would argue guilt, but to walk 
on was to run the gantlet of the whole col- 
umn of soldiery, on the look-out for brigands. 
Nevertheless the second course seemed the 
safer of the two, so he slouched his hat and 
moved on, saluting as he passed by, lifting 
his hand to his hat, but not daring to re- 
move it, lest there should be any one there 
who should recognise him. Neither did he 
venture to quicken his pace, but walked on 
steadily with a would - be careless air, and 
actually succeeded in reaching the last file of 
soldiers without detection. He had touched 
his hat to the General, and was just beginning 
to quicken his pace, breathing more freely, no 
doubt, as the danger seemed so nearly over, 
when the very last man of the file, and, as it 
happened, the only man who had ever seen 
Perrone, a sergeant of militia, cried out ex- 
citedly, " E Perrone ! quetto die ammazzb il 
vecchio Dell' Aglio ! " (It is Perrone, who 


killed old Dell' Aglio.) On hearing the cry, 
Perrone started at a run. But it was too late. 
A sign, a word from the General, and a couple 
of mounted gendarmes were in pursuit, and it 
was but the work of a minute or two ere the 
wretch was securely bound, and marching off 
to Ostuni, where he was well known, so that 
there was no difficulty in identifying him. 

A few days later he was hanged before the 
door of the Casa dell' Aglio. 





THE betrayal of secrets of any of the societies 
was punishable with death. 

General Church tells a story which illustrates 
the inevitableness of this rule. 

One day, just about the time when he first 
took command of Apulia, some quarrel took 
place among a company of brigands whether 
of the Decisi or of some other society does not 
appear about the division of some plunder, 
and one of the leading members of the band 
considered himself unfairly used. However, 
he was so entirely in the minority that he had 
no chance of making good his claim, and he 
turned away in high dudgeon, fingering his 
stiletto, and muttering something of being 
tired of this life, and that more might be got 

7 C5 O 

elsewhere, and he knew what he knew, and 


could speak if he chose, and there were those 
who would be glad to listen to him, and some 
had best beware. So he strode off, and went 
home, and having told his wife of all that had 
happened, and eaten a good supper, his wrath 
cooled and he went to bed, having forgotten 
the quarrel. But though he forgot, there were 
those who did not forget. At about midnight 
he was wakened by the peculiar call which was 
the well-known signal of the band. His ill- 
humour had passed away, and fancying that 
his comrades had come to summon him for 
some plundering expedition, he bade his wife 
open the door and admit them. There were 
two rooms in the cottage, both on the ground- 
floor, the one into which the outer door opened 
being the bedroom of the pair. The wife did 
as her lord and master commanded, and brought 
wine, which she set down in the inner room, 
the kitchen, and fetched a lamp, and raked 
together the embers on the hearth, and stood 
ready to serve the accustomed guests. 

To her great surprise for she was in all their 
secrets, and accustomed to hear their plans dis- 
cussed beforehand, and to take charge of the 
spoil after they returned from the raid they 
told her to go back to bed. They had something 
very special, very private to communicate to 
her husband, and did not desire her presence. 


The woman obeyed, but feminine curiosity was 
not to be balked so easily. 

Her bed stood against the wall which divided 
the sleeping-room from the kitchen, an old wall 
full of cracks. It was not difficult, by applying 
her eye to one of these cracks, to see, herself 
unseen, all that went on in the dimly lighted 
chamber beyond, and to hear all that was said 
among the band. And this was what she heard 
and saw. There was a preliminary drinking of 
wine from the great jar which stood on the 
table, and then she saw the rest of the brigands 
gather round her husband, and heard them re- 
proach him with having threatened to betray 
those who were bound by the same oath as 
himself. It was but the colloquy of a minute. 
Before he could speak a word of answer or ex- 
planation, a dozen stilettoes were plunged into 
his body, and he fell dead without so much as 
uttering a groan. 

The woman, trembling for her own life, had 
yet presence of mind to lie down in bed, 
turning her face to the wall, and her back to 
the door through which the brigands must 
pass in order to leave the house. She heard 
them steal through the kitchen on tiptoe, one 
after another, enter the sleeping-room and halt 
there, looking towards the bed where she lay. 
There was a small lamp burning in a corner 


of the room, which cast their shadows upon 
the wall against which the bed was placed ; 
and the woman, as she lay with half- closed 
eyes, was thus able to take note of their move- 
ments and gestures as well as to hear their 
whispered words. 

What moments those must have been to the 
poor creature, as she lay there in apparent 
sleep, breathing hard and regularly, yet with 
every faculty so agonisingly awake ! knowing 
that those who had murdered her husband 
would not have the slightest scruple in murder- 
ing her also. How the horrible scene which 
she had just witnessed must have been printed 
on her brain, thrilling with fierce thoughts of 
vengeance against the assassins, yet forced to 
lie there, to keep still, to seem to sleep, because 
there was but a step betwixt her and death ! 

When they had nearly reached the door, 
she saw by the shadows on the wall that they 
made a halt, and then she watched a ghastly 
pantomime. One made a sign with his dagger 
that he would step forward and kill her ; 
another shook his head, and signed that she 
slept ; a third took his carbine from his shoulder, 
crept towards the bed and pointed it at her 
and then indeed she thought that her last 
hour had come, but her courage did not fail, 
and she lay still and snored louder than before. 


" Che bella musical" whispered the brigand; 
and another added with a brutal laugh, " Let 
her alone. Her husband will come and wake 
her presently." 

" Best kill her," whispered another ; but the 
fellow with the carbine answered 

" Bah ! she is not worth the trouble ! Come 

Then she heard from two or three, " Let us 
go. It is late," and then some one said, " Kill 
her or leave her, it matters not which ; but 
be quick about it. Tis too great a risk staying 
on here." 

"Let us go we can settle her any time," 
was the final verdict, and they stalked silently 
out of the house. 

Left alone, the poor woman breathed more 
freely, yet she dared not move, lest any of the 
ruffians should be lingering about, so she lay 
still through the weary hours of darkness. The 
last embers died out on the hearth, the lamp 
which she had set on the kitchen-table flickered 
and went out : perhaps that was better than 
peeping through the chink in the wall which 
had a terrible fascination for her burning eyes 
to watch the dark motionless heap on the 
floor which had been her living husband when 
the night fell. 

A rough, brutal man, a tyrant to her, a 


robber and a murderer, yet her " man," the 
lover of her youth ; and as she lay there she 
clenched her hands, and lifted her hot tearless 
eyes in the darkness, and swore a solemn oath 
that she would have revenge on the murderers 
of her husband. 

Even when in the early morning some work- 
men, passing by and calling in at the cottage, 
found the dead body, the wife maintained 
silence, or rather declared herself ignorant of 
what had happened. She had been asleep. 
Her husband had been murdered in the night, 
but when and by whom, how could she tell ? 
He was always a peaceable man, but there 
were quarrels. She went her own way, and 
never troubled her head about the affairs of 
the men and there were bad men abroad, 
doubtless. Alas ! alas ! she was a desolate 
widow she could say no more ; and the apron 
went up to the eyes, and the sturdy shoulders 
were shaken by sobs, and the magistrate who 
had questioned her, as in duty bound, had his 
own life to consider, and knew that ignorance 
was his best safety. So to the proces verbal 
was appended the usual verdict, " Murderers 

But she was biding her time. 

Life went on as usual in the little mountain 
village : the scanty patches of corn ripened ; 


the figs were gathered in ; the goats were 
driven to their pasture and called home for 
the milking ; the brown-faced children rolled 
in the dirt and quarrelled and played ; the 
girls lingered by the well, and the lads knew 
at what hour they should find them there ; 
there was the work and the play, the gossiping 
on doorsteps, and the preparing of polenta 
within doors ; and as for the tragedy which 
had taken place two months ago, there was 
no more sign of it in the village life than there 
was sign of stirring in the village well ten 
minutes after its surface had been broken by 
the drawing up of the water which that sad, 
stern-faced widow carried home to her lonely 

The neighbours pitied her, one and another 
would give a hand's turn to do her a service, 
all would have been glad to have been her 
confidential interviewers, and to have known 
something of what had happened on that dark 
night ; but no one could ever get a word from 
her on that subject, even had they not feared 
to ask. But if her vengeance was slow, it was 
all the more sure. She had all the secrets of 
the band of brigands in her possession, and 
could afford to wait. 

People were talking about this Englishman 
who was marching through the country. He 


was a marvellous man, this English General. 
You could not frighten him, and you could 
not bribe him, and he would listen to any one 
who cried for justice, however poor and unin- 
fluential, and he would see that justice was 
done too. It was said that he had sworn to 
extirpate the robbers and murderers who in- 
fested the country. It was certain that he 
set about it in a very different manner from the 
other generals who from time to time had 
visited the province with this same avowed 
intention, and after failing to find the brig- 
ands, or having a skirmish or two with them, 
or even catching and putting into prison some 
minor ruffian, had gone back to Naples, leav- 
ing the poor country in much the same state 
as before. The woman listened to all that was 
said said in whispers, and among friends at 
first, but by degrees more boldly, and in open 
day and held her peace. 

One day there was great excitement in the 
little village. The Englishman was coming 
into their neighbourhood. He was to be at 
the village of Berberano, not six miles away, 
that very night. All who could contrive to 
get so far, straightway determined that if they 
did not go all the way to Berberano itself, 
they would at any rate meet him and his gen- 
darmerie on the way. But the widow went 



stolidly about her daily work, only her great 
dark eyes gleamed in their hollow sockets, and 
the lines of her mouth were drawn into a 
greater expression of determination than ever. 
Towards the afternoon she put on her most 
decent clothing and left the village. Some 
one asked her where she was going, but she 
shook her head and answered nothing. 

At the entrance of the village of Berberano 
that evening a crowd was gathered, with the 
sindaco, or chief magistrate, among them, all 
waiting to receive and welcome the English 
General. All the gentlemen of the neighbour- 
hood were there, and the peasants of the place 
stood in groups, curious, somewhat distrustful 
for had they not had such promises before ? 
Besides, who could say whether any of the 
strangers who lounged about, apparently actu- 
ated only by a spirit of peaceful curiosity, 
might not be brigand spies, wearing concealed 
poniards beneath their garments ? Even the 
children clung to their mothers, and looked, 
with bright eyes under dark brows, awe- 
stricken, for something mysterious, they knew 
not what. 

It may be questioned whether the worthy 
sindaco even, with all his bustle of deferential 
welcome, was not looking forward in his heart 
to the next morning, when this perplexing, 


irrepressible, worrying stranger would ride 
away. Nevertheless, when the cavalcade of 
gendarmerie appeared, and behind them a 
small slight man, with sharp features, keen 
dark-blue eyes, and an air of energy and eager- 
ness which somehow did not seem quite to suit 
the country, the sindaco hurried forward, with 
expressions of profoundest respect and joy, to 
welcome him. 

General Church courteously dismounted from 
his horse to return the greeting, but hardly 
had he set foot on ground when a tall, gaunt- 
looking woman, decently though poorly dressed, 
rushed forward, making her way through the 
crowd with vigorous shoves and pushes, and 
throwing herself at his feet, cried loudly 
" Giustizia, giustizia, Eccellenza, giustizia!" 
He raised her from the ground and bade her 
be calm. She should be heard, but she must 
not cry out in that manner. In vain ! all 
efforts to pacify her only resulted in louder 
cries of " Giustizia, giustizia, Eccellenza, gius- 
tizia ! " 

This would never do. The General's rule 
invariably was to hear every complaint him- 
self, that he might judge in the first instance 
of what was the truth of the matter before 
sending it to the Military Tribunal. But, as 
he pathetically remarks, " To get at the truth 


two essentials were necessary namely, time 
and place ; " and in his opinion the public 
street and a crowd offered neither the one nor 
the other. Besides this, clamour would give 
alarm to the brigand spies, who were sure to be 
found in any assembly, and facilitate the escape 
of the criminals, whoever they might be. So 
he turned to the sindaco, and said in a voice 
loud enough for every one to hear 

" She is mad, poor creature ! Send her about 

her business. Or stay " and he handed his 

purse to an aide-de-camp, with a muttered 
word or two, and remounting, rode off to the 
house prepared for his quarters for the night, 
after an invitation to the sindaco to join him 
and his officers at dinner. 

Of course the crowd followed in the wake of 
the cavalcade, and there only remained some 
two or three, among whom was the aide-de- 
camp, who, purse in hand, went up to the poor 
woman, and seemed to be trying to persuade 
her to go home, and to cease wringing her hands 
and rending the air with her frantic and de- 
spairing cries for justice. 

After a while he succeeded in gaining her 
attention, and glancing round and seeing that 
they were now alone, he said in a low, meaning 
voice, laying his finger on his lips a well-known 
sign of secrecy and intelligence, which she at 


once understood " Don't be afraid. Come to " 
(mentioning a lonely, deserted house on the 
outskirts of the village) " at eight o'clock this 
evening, and you shall be heard. But keep 

Then he rode after his comrades, and left 
her, poor thing, in the midst of her vehement 
but low-spoken thanks and assurances of com- 

Eight o'clock approached. General Church 
with some difficulty dismissed the worthy sin- 
daco and some other guests of the neighbour- 
hood, pleading fatigue, the writing yet to be 
done that night, the early start on the morrow. 

It was a dark, moonless night as he stood at 
the door to wish them a courteous " Felice 
notte" which was as courteously returned. 
Soon after, some half-dozen cloaked figures 
stumbled along the lanes which led to the 
lonely house, speaking in low tones, and quite 
undistinguishable from any other belated trav- 
ellers. Having reached their destination they 
pushed open the door, struck a light, and found 
their way to a room where, in a corner, sat the 
poor forlorn widow, patiently waiting the time 
she had looked forward to so long. The notary 
was there with his pen, ink, and paper, ready 
to take her deposition, and some of the officers 
as witnesses ; and now, in an encouraging tone, 


she heard herself addressed by the stranger 
General, and bidden to tell her story without 
fear, for she should have the justice she claimed 
it was her right. Sitting before them in that 
dark, lonely, bare hall, with just a table and a 
bench or two for furniture, and the autumn 
rain pattering outside, she told her story, with 
all the vivid turns of expression, and ejaculations 
and gesticulations, of her Southern race ; and 
then she went on to a triumphant detail of all 
she knew of the secrets of the band in the days 
of former friendship. With gleaming eyes and 
exulting tones she told their names, and where 
they dwelt, and where they were most likely 
to be found. She knew all their haunts, the 
places where they deposited their plunder, any 
particulars about each one of them, all the 
atrocities they had committed (and they were, 
without exception, very much " wanted " by 
justice !), and their general habits and move- 
ments. One consequence of her information 
was, that after a time many persons recovered 
property which they had lost, and which was 
discovered packed away in various hidden re- 
ceptacles. But this is by the way. What 
concerns us at present is, that the General 
was at once put on the scent of a band of 
notorious ruffians, and that they all met their 
deserts before another fortnight was over, some 


being killed in desperate fighting, some taken 
and hanged. "After all," he remarks, "the 
husband only got his just deserts, for he was 
as great a scoundrel as any of the lot, and 
his murder by his comrades only anticipated 
by a few months more or less the sentence 
of the law." As to the woman, she had some- 
thing to answer for too, for she was tried and 
condemned as a receiver of stolen goods ; but 
in consideration of the service which her infor- 
mation had rendered to justice, the General 
interceded for her, and the legal sentence of 
ten years' imprisonment was in her case com- 
muted to two. 






LET us now give some account of the founder 
and chief of this terrible society of the Decisi. 
Giro Annichiarico was a priest, and some- 
times exercised the functions of a priest in the 
midst of his blood-stained career. We hear of 
his celebrating Mass before starting on some 
wild expedition, and he complained of the 
Mission priests " that they did not preach the 
pure Gospel, but disseminated illiberal opinions 
among the peasants." At the same time he 
was cruel, sparing neither age nor sex ; his life 
was openly immoral, and he boasted of his 
infidel opinions. When he lay under sentence 
of death, one of these same good Mission priests 
came to exhort him to repentance. " Let alone 
this prating," answered Don Giro, with a sneer; 


" we are of the same profession, don't let us 
make game of one another ! " 

As to his personal appearance, General Church 
says : 

He was a good horseman, and a capital shot ; strong 
and vigorous as a tiger, and equally ferocious; his 
countenance was bad ; he had large features, a very 
ordinary face, and never without a sinister expression, 
quite unlike the manly countenance of Don Gaetano 
Vardarelli. His eyes were small and of a reddish 
hue; his hair dark, thick, and bushy; he had shaggy 
eyebrows, and a short, rather turned-up nose. 

The General adds : 

Giro had friends and protectors in all the towns and 
villages of the province of Lecce, and had the effrontery 
at times to show himself in broad daylight apparently 
unaccompanied. He was a perfect Proteus in his dis- 
guises as a woman, as a beggar, as a priest, as a friar, 
as an officer, as a gendarme. His usual dress was of 
velveteen, highly laced, with many rows of buttons, 
and belts in every direction, and he was always armed 
with pistols and stiletto, carbine or rifle. He always 
carried poison with him, in a small case, within a red 
pocket-book. He also always wore several silver chains, 
to one of which was attached the silver death's-head, 
the badge of the secret society, the Decisi, which he 
had founded, and of which he was the recognised head 
that terrible society, whose first condition of admis- 
sion into its ranks was that the candidate must have 
committed two murders with his own hand, and whose 
decrees and patents were written in blood. On his 
breast he wore rows of relics, crosses, images of saints, 
and amulets against the Evil Eye. His head-dress was 


a high-peaked drab-coloured hat, adorned with gold 
band, buckle, and tall black feather, and his fingers 
were covered with rings of great value. 

Giro Annichiarico was born of well-to-do 
parents, in Grottaglia, one of the little white 
towns which stud the green plain of Franca- 
villa. He was early destined to the priesthood 
by his relations, who were quiet, respectable 
people, of the farming class mostly, though one 
of his uncles was a canonico, and " a man of 
learning, who never took any part in the crimes 
of his nephew." The first time we hear of Giro 
he has stabbed a young girl of Grottaglia, be- 
trothed to a fellow-townsman, Giuseppe Molo- 
tesi. Giro, though already a priest, waylaid 
the poor girl, and on her scornful rejection of 
his addresses, murdered her, and afterwards 
murdered young Molotesi, his sister, and three 
brothers. This was in 1803. 

The only member of the Molotesi family 
left alive was a little boy, who was hidden 
away by a faithful servant in his own desolate 
house, and who grew up there, barred and 
bolted in, never once, for fifteen years, ven- 
turing to stir outside the door. 

The child grew to be a man. One day 
friends came to him, not as they were wont, 
with gentle tappings and passwords, before the 
fast-bolted door would open to admit them, 


but in broad daylight, exulting, saying that 
he was free, that the murderer of his family 
was dead, that he could come forth and breathe 
the fresh air of heaven. But the pale cap- 
tive shrank back, fearing it was some snare 
laid for him, and refused to cross the thresh- 
old of his door. At last he was persuaded 
to creep out, trembling, dazzled by the sun- 
light, to go to the town - gate, and to look 
upon the ghastly head exposed there in an 
iron cage. There he stood, poor creature, half 
dazed at first, then breaking into wild tears 
and laughter, throwing himself on his knees 
to thank the Madonna and all the saints for 
his deliverance, then running off to the Gen- 
eral's quarters to thank him too. 

For the murder of the Molotesi, Giro was 
condemned to fifteen years' imprisonment in 
chains ; but in four years' time he had escaped, 
and betaken himself to the mountains, where 
he gathered round him a band of ruffians and 
outlaws, and became the terror of the neigh- 
bourhood. In a " Justification " which he 
sent to the Royal Commission appointed in 
1817 to act .against the brigands, the wolf 
thus complains of the hard measure dealt to 
him by the shepherds of the flock : 

The priest Giro Annichiarico, of the town of Grot- 
taglia, learns with surprise that the Commission . . . 


demands the reason why Giro Annichiarico resides out 
of his native country. 

He proceeds to protest his innocence of the 
crimes laid against him, " feeling within me 
no tumult which reproaches me with having 
ever acted against reason, or offended against 
the sacred laws of virtue and honour ; " and 
adds that in consequence of cruel persecutions, 
he had for years dwelt among the wild beasts, 
living by the compassion of peasants and shep- 
herds, or on the wild fruits ! But his con- 
science is at peace, though "the blame of 
every disturbance falls on him, and whenever 
robberies or murders are committed, it is put 
down to the abate Giro Annichiarico ! " He 
adds : 

When the glorious Bourbon dynasty returned and 
benignly determined to recall from exile those who had 
been banished from society, I presented myself to the 
authorities, and obtained leave to dwell at Bari under 
police supervision, and the most pleasant hopes arose 
within me of living at rest, in social order. I reflected 
on the obligations imposed upon me by my sacred pro- 
fession, and determined to join the College of Mission 
Priests at Bari. I was on the point of doing this, 
when the thunderbolt burst upon me ; I was secretly 
informed that my arrest was ordered, and I vanished, 
and betaking myself to my old haunts, recommenced 
a wretched and savage life. 

Circumstances invited me to crime and vengeance : 
the feelings of nature and religion recalled me to duty. 


I learnt with horror from the shepherds that brigands 
infested the mountains, and the account of their out- 
rages made my heart bleed. I determined to help my 
fellow-creatures, and hoped one day to undeceive the 
Government about the calumnies heaped upon me. I 
came forth from my cavern, and took the road to 
Martina. ... I can say with truth that the roads are 
now safe, that the traveller journeys without fear ; the 
farmhouses stand open, the shepherd sings as he leads 
his flock to the pasture. 

Let us turn to the real story of Giro's life 
and ways. 

He had escaped, as has been said, after 
four years' imprisonment, and had gone to the 
mountains. After a while, General Ottavio, 
a Corsican, was sent to put down brigandage, 
which had become troublesome, in Apulia ; and 
he set about it by offering an amnesty and 
pension to Giro if he would reside at Bari, 
forsaking his evil ways, and becoming a peace- 
ful citizen. " It was a disgrace to the Gov- 
ernment," says General Church, in his account 
of the affair ; but General Ottavio was might- 
ily pleased with his short and easy method 
of turning the wolf into the lamb, and at 
Francavilla a meeting took place, articles were 
signed, and Giro became, indeed, the pet-lamb 
of the fold. But it did not last long. He 
tired of captivity, in spite of riding and dining 
with the general, who greatly delighted in 


his company ; and the story of his escape re- 
calls one of those old tales which were our 
childhood's delight. 

One fine day General Ottavio and Giro 
Annichiarico were strolling together, outside 
the walls of Bari, accompanied by some officers 
of the general's suite. Presently the general's 
horses were brought out for their usual ex- 
ercise, and Giro, who had been amusing the 
company with stories of wild adventures and 
hairbreadth escapes, interrupted himself to 
commend the horses, of which the general 
was vastly proud : among others there was 
a grey, which, saddled and bridled, was brought 
up by a groom for his master's morning ride. 
"Yes, 'tis a good horse you shall try him, 
and give me your opinion of him," said the 
general. But Giro modestly excused himself; 
he was growing stiff, he was out of practice. 
Yet, if his Excellency insisted, and after 
much pressing, the abate obeyed, and mounted, 
rode a few paces, and would have dismounted, 
but at the general's repeated request took 
another turn, walked, trotted, galloped, and 
returned full of praises of the gallant grey. 
He had never ridden a better horse ! 

General Gttavio was pleased, but not satis- 
fied. He must have Don Giro's opinion upon 
a horse from Conversano ; he must know if 


it would be safe to bet on the speed of the 
Conversano. The races would soon be coming 
off, and he knew no man whose judgment 
would be so good as the abate's. So Giro 
obligingly consented to mount again, riding 
a little way, and returning to the gate where 
the general and his officers stood watching 
him. He was met with an indignant pro- 
test. " But this is nothing, nothing at all ! 
You have grown lazy, Don Giro ; you must 
have a gallop out of him, or how can you 
give an opinion ? " Don Giro seemed strangely 
apathetic. Good living and comfortable quar- 
ters had taken the fire out of him apparently : 
still, to please his host, he consented and gal- 
loped off, taking a wider circuit, flashing along 
the white road which crossed the wide plain, 
lost to sight for the moment among the olive- 
woods, then returning at full speed, and de- 
claring that it was an excellent horse, and 
fleet though not perhaps quite so fleet as 
some among the general's stud. Yet a good 
horse, an excellent horse ! 

" Ah, you are thinking of my Andalusian. 
I am told he is five times as fleet as Con- 
versano. What do you say ? " 

Don Giro looked at the tall dark chestnut 
and shook his head. " No, no, your Excel- 
lency. Conversano would match that horse 


any day. But I will try him." So the 
Conversano was led back to his stable in the 
town, and the saddle and bridle were put 
upon the Andalusian. The general handed 
a whip to Giro, saying, " Andate, andate I 
presto, presto I " and off he went, tearing 
along the road till he reached the turn to 
Brindisi. Some of the officers looked at one 
another significantly, but only for a few 
moments. Giro reappeared, at full speed, and 
was soon among them again, loudly declaring 
that he preferred Conversano as a riding- 
horse a thousand times. 

" Bah ! bah ! " answered General Ottavio, 
" any one can see that the Andalusian is the 
swifter of the two : you are prejudiced, signore 
abate, because the race of Conversano is the 
glory of Apulia. The chestnut is a little 
fat and lazy, that's all. You should have 
made more use of the whip ! " 

" Whip, your Excellency ? There was no 
need of a whip ! I rather needed a second 
pair of arms," said Don Giro, wiping the per- 
spiration from his brow. " The brute ! Ma- 
donna mia, but he has nearly pulled my arms 
out of their sockets ! " and he dismounted 
with apparent difficulty, rubbing the said 
arms, and muttering that the horse must be 
surely possessed by the devil, and that he 


should not be able to mount again for a 
month at least, at which his Excellency and 
the officers laughed uproariously. 

So the Andalusian was led away, but 
General Ottavio was not satisfied. He was 
determined to have Don Giro's opinion upon 
a thoroughbred English mare, of a bright bay 
colour, which he had just bought. " Come, 
Don Giro," he said coaxingly, "what do you 
say to it ? One turn more, just one little 
turn 1 " 

" Impossible, your Excellency really im- 
possible : I am dead ! " 

" Come, signore abate, I must have you 
try the mare. Can it be the redoubtable 
Don Giro Annichiarico, the first of horsemen, 
who refuses me ? " 

" Pardon me, your Excellency. I am not 
the man I was. In truth, you must excuse 

" One more trial, my friend. Only one 
more ! She has cost me 200 English guineas, 
hard cash, and I have set my heart on having 
your opinion." 

Very reluctantly Don Giro allowed himself 
to be persuaded, rubbing his aching arms, 
and after a short turn, begging to be allowed 
to dismount ; but yielding to renewed en- 
treaties, he took off his hat, bowed low, and 



saying, " At your Excellency's commands," 
was soon flying along the road, followed by 
the cheers of the spectators. Soon he had 
turned the corner of the road that led to 
Brindisi. Is it necessary to add that General 
Ottavio never saw his English mare again ? 

He did see Don Giro once again, however, 
and it was on this wise. He was still in 
charge of the district, and was making an 
attempt to pursue some brigands. One day 
he was placidly walking in his garden alone 
when a man, armed at all points, sprang 
over the wall and confronted him. It was 
Giro Annichiarico. "You and I have met 
before," he said; "you remember me, general? 
Pray don't be frightened. Your life is in my 
hands, but I will let you off this once for old 
acquaintance' sake. Only remember that I 
shall not be so lenient another time, and leave 
off hunting after me in this furious fashion ! 
Addio ! A thousand greetings. Addio ! " and 
so saying he leapt back over the wall and 
disappeared, and we may be sure that General 
Ottavio took the hint ! 







WHEN he was on his trial, Don Giro was 
asked how many murders he had committed. 
" Chi lo sa ? " he answered, coolly. " Sixty 
or seventy, perhaps ! " One of these murders 
made a special impression on General Church. 
He not only relates the circumstances at 
length, but refers to it again and again. No 
wonder it did make an impression not to be 
effaced on the mind of the chivalrous, kindly 
Englishman ! 

The old feudal castle of Martano, he says, 
stands above the picturesque little town of 
the same name, and overlooks a magnificent 
view. There, across the blue waves, you see 
the opposite coast, and the Albanian moun- 
tains beyond, while nearer at hand stretch 


green plain, olive - woods, vineyards, as far 
as Otranto, fourteen miles away. This old 
castle belonged to the Princess of Martano, 
a beautiful orphan girl some twenty years of 
age, sole mistress of great wealth and fair 
estates, dwelling amongst her own people, 
in the home of her ancestors, adored by those 
around her, fair and innocent, happy and fear- 
less, why should she be otherwise ? 

Many suitors had she, but to none of them 
had she a word to say, laughingly declaring 
that the care of her own people, the company 
of her little cousin (an orphan boy of seven 
or eight years old), the kind guidance of her 
old chaplain and of her duenna both dis- 
tantly related to her and both devoted to 
her filled up all her time and thoughts, 
and she wished for nothing more. 

The houses of the town of Martano were 
scattered irregularly up and down, with very 
little in the way of a street, being mostly 
detached and surrounded by gardens. A steep 
road led up to the castle, which stood at some 
distance from the town, and apart from all 
other buildings. 

One dark December night it was in the 
year 1814 the inhabitants of the castle of 
Martano bade each other the usual felice 
notte, the old steward locked and barred the 


great gates according to custom (for though 
the moat was filled up and the ramparts had 
crumbled away, the walled courtyard and 
great portals remained), and all went peace- 
fully to bed. The young princess had dis- 
missed her maid and was preparing to go 
to rest, when there was a knock at the door 
of her apartment, and her duenna entered. 

"You are not asleep, dear child? Well, 
so much the better ; for you must dress your- 
self and come down to receive his Excellency 
the commandant of the province. The poor 
gentleman has been belated on his way to 
Otranto, and begs your hospitality. Will 
you come?" 

" Surely yes, cara mia" the young girl 
answered. " Send Lucia to me, and I will 
follow you immediately." 

" For," says General Church, " such is the 
hospitality of the nobles and gentry, and 
indeed of all the inhabitants of Apulia, that, 
arrive at their houses at what hour you will, 
you are sure of a welcome, and most likely 
the master of the house will himself come 
down to receive you." So, as a natural thing, 
the princess prepared to come down and 
receive her guest. 

Alas ! it was no belated traveller who knocked 
at the castle-gate that night ; but Don Giro, 


with a band of forty or fifty ruffians, giving the 
name of the commandant of the province, and 
excusing his late arrival by the darkness of the 
night, the inclemency of the weather, the dis- 
turbed state of the country, the distance to 
Otranto. He was readily admitted ; the old 
steward, as he drew back the ponderous bolts, 
calling the sleepy servants to make haste and 
fetch light, and summon the princess. His 
orders were cheerfully obeyed ; the serving- 
men hastened down the wide stone staircase, 
some bringing torches, some flinging logs on 
the smouldering hearth, some hurrying to fetch 
food and wine, all anxious to show respect to 
the commandant. No sooner had the gates 
been opened than a clatter of horse-hoofs was 
heard, and a band of armed men rode into the 
courtyard. Some remained on horseback to 
guard the castle -door, some dismounted and 
followed their leader as he pushed his way 
into the hall. 

There was no possibility of resistance, no 
time to raise an alarm even : the old steward 
was stabbed as he stepped forward, hospitably 
anxious to greet the unexpected guests ; the 
torches were seized from the hands of the 
servants with one hand, while the other dealt 
the death-blow ; their bodies were flung into 
the courtyard, while the murderers rushed 


through the house, killing and plundering. 
The white-haired chaplain, the old lady, the 
servants male and female, none were spared. 
As for the fair young princess 

She was in her own room, chatting gaily 
with her maids, as she prepared to go down- 
stairs and receive the commandant. The noise 
of footsteps on the stairs, a certain bustle and 
movement, attracted the attention of one of 
her attendants, and she went out into the 
passage to see what it was about. At the 
head of the stairs she was met by an armed 
man. Terrified, she gasped out, " What are 
your commands, signore ? " 

" Is that the princess's door ? " 

" Yes what do you want ? " 

" Nothing." 

There was a shriek, and the poor woman fell 
to the ground pierced by a dagger, while Don 
Giro rushed past her and burst into the room 
where the princess stood, white and trembling, 
yet commanding herself bravely as became one 
of her birth and breeding, giving no way to 
tears or entreaties, and answering Giro's curt 
salutation with gentle, youthful dignity. The 
colloquy was a short one. 

" Princess, we know that you have a large 
sum of money in the house. Where is it ? " 

" In yonder iron chest." 


" Where are the keys ? " 

" On the table by the chimney-piece." 

" Where are your jewels ? " 

" In the small box on that table." 

" Have you any others ? " 

" Not in the house." 

" Very well. Allow me to examine them." 

He unlocked and opened the chest, which 
contained 36,000 gold ducats, his eyes taking 
a red glow as he ran the coins through his 
greedy fingers ; then he opened the jewel-box, 
and took out pearls and diamonds and rubies, 
sparkling rings and golden bracelets, which had 
adorned many a fair and noble dame of ages 
past ; and then it is horrible to relate, but 
it is true crying fiercely, " Philosophers tell 
us that dead dogs can't bite," he stabbed both 
the princess and her maid with his poniard. 

Meanwhile the rest of his band had finished 
their share in the bloody work, and fetching 
food and wine, and stirring the smouldering 
logs to a blaze, they feasted gaily in the hall 
stained with the blood of their victims, and 
quaffed huge draughts of wine to the health 
of " la betta principessa." 

After a time Don Giro gave the word to 
depart, and after some disputing over the 
division of the spoil, they all rode away, 


setting fire to the furniture in the great hall, 
and carefully shutting the courtyard gates be- 
hind them, that casual passers-by might not 
suspect that anything was wrong within. 

But there had been a witness of the foul 
deed, though they little guessed it. 

The boy who has been mentioned, the hapless 
princess's little cousin and playfellow, had been 
awakened by the dying shriek of the attendant. 
His room opened within that of the princess, 
and he ran into her chamber for explanation 
and protection, just as Giro himself burst open 
the door. The little fellow, in an agony of 
terror, crept under a table which was covered 
with a heavy cloth, deeply fringed with silk 
and gold, and there he lay, unperceived, a 
horror-stricken witness of the scene. 

How long he lay there he could not tell, 
but at last he was roused from his stupor 
of terror by the choking smoke which began 
to pervade the apartment. With shaking 
limbs and chattering teeth, not daring to 
turn his eyes to the white heap which lay, 
so strangely still, upon the floor, the poor 
little fellow crept out of his hiding-place, and 
wandered from one silent room to another, too 
frightened to go down-stairs, until he reached 
a window which was sufficiently near the ground 


to enable him to drop down into the garden ; 
then, stumbling through the darkness, he 
climbed a low wall, and found his way down 
steep and stony pathways to the house of the 
sindaco of Martano, just as the grey winter's 
dawn was beginning to rouse the inhabitants 
from their slumbers. Breathless and trembling, 
the child could only explain that something 
terrible had happened up there, at the castle ; 
and the alarm being given, the townsfolk, 
headed by the sindaco, rushed to the castle- 
gates, which stood shut, and apparently just 
as usual. 

But they yielded to a push, and flew apart, 
and then ah, what a ghastly sight met the 
eyes of those who entered and passed into 
the great hall ! There seemed nothing to be 
done save to bury the dead bodies and ex- 
tinguish the fire. Every one knew whose that 
dark night's work had been. Every one had 
loved the fair young princess, and would have 
gladly seen her murderer brought to justice. 
The little boy was able to give a description 
of Don Giro, and a full account of all that 
had taken place. Among the heaps of corpses 
on the floor, one man-servant and the woman 
who had first spoken to the abate still breathed, 
and being taken to the town and carefully 


tended, lived long enough to sign a deposition 
before the magistrates. But there the matter 
ended. Giro Annichiarico had so surrounded 
himself with the reputation of a magician that 
the people dared not even curse him aloud, lest 
his familiar spirits should carry him a report 
of what was said ! 








WE are told that " Giro's activity was as 
astonishing as his artifice and intrepidity ; 
and as he was always extremely well mounted, 
and found concealment and support every- 
where, through fear or inclination, he suc- 
ceeded in escaping from the soldiers repeatedly, 
even when confidential spies had discovered his 
place of concealment only a few hours before. 
This singular good fortune acquired for him 
the character of a magician, and he neglected 
nothing that could confirm this idea." 

Giro's ambition was to be the acknowledged 
head of all the secret societies in Apulia. In 
the month of December 1817 there were said 
to be 70,000 sectaries in the province of Lecce 


alone, and Giro was attempting to gather all to 
a meeting, and to get them to make common 
cause against the king's troops ; for he thought 
in this way they might get good terms with 
the Neapolitan Government. He was all the 
more eager to persuade other chiefs of banditti 
to join his party, because he knew there was 
very little hope of pardon for himself unless he 
could appear as the head of the great body of 
secret societies. 

He had two meetings with Don Gaetano, 
the chief of the Vardarelli ; but they did not 
come to terms, and finally he determined to go 
his own way, and take the field with his own 
band against the English General, who was 
now in command of Apulia. 

Meanwhile General Church had been march- 
ing up and down the provinces, fixing his head- 
quarters sometimes in one place, sometimes in 
another ; sometimes welcomed, more often met 
with sullen apathy ; keeping his men under 
strict discipline, and proclaiming peace and 
safety to all who would help him in establishing 
order and putting down murder, robbery, and 
lawlessness. Reports came in daily. Giro had 
been seen here, heard of there. One officer of 
gendarmerie had talked to him for half an 
hour ; another had heard at Ostuni that Giro 
had slept in the adjoining house a day before. 


Let us take a look at General Church as he 
sits in his room at Lecce studying the map 
of the province with his chief of the staff, 
Colonel Schmerber. They have stuck red pins 
into the loyal places, and black into those 
which are disaffected. The General has deter- 
mined that the three towns of Grottaglia, Fran- 
cavilla, and San Marzano shall be the centre 
towards which all his lines shall converge, so 
that his columns should all draw closer and 
closer till Giro was fast caught, as in the middle 
of a net. This having been explained, the 
General throws himself back in his chair, rub- 
bing his hands, and says, " Schmerber, my 
friend, Giro is moving against us." 

" Impossible, General. You are joking," was 
the reply. 

" Not a bit of it : read for yourself," handing 
him a letter. "You see the black flag is 
hoisted. In fact, Don Giro has been so con- 
siderate as to warn me that if I don't withdraw 
my men he must go to war with me in earnest, 
in which case one of us must die, and that one 
will not be Giro Annichiarico ! " 

" Very good, General. We are quite ready 
for him." 

" And, if you will believe it, Schmerber, the 
scoundrel offers me his friendship and pro- 
tection if I will go away and let him alone ! 


He has published a manifesto, declaring that 
he is fighting for Liberty, especially reminding 
the gendarmes that they are mostly Carbonari, 
and therefore brethren." 

" No fear of the gendarmes, General. They 
are devoted to you." 

The General took up his map again. " Bentz 
and his battalion must march at once to Brin- 
disi that place is only kept in order by the 
garrison in the castle. Corsi to Gioja ; Francia 
to Taranto ; Bianchi to Ostuni. Fusco says 
Francavilla is all for Giro, and our men are 
insulted in the streets. Well, I shall be there 
before long. Shall I tell you a piece of news, 
Schmerber ? Yito del Serio is going to be 
married ! " 

" What the devil does that matter to us ? " 

" For once in your life, my friend, you are 
wrong. It matters so much, that if I cannot 
have the pleasure of assisting at the ceremony, 
I shall certainly send representatives. Oh, it 
will be a grand affair, I assure you. Read 

The paper which General Church held out 
contained the news that Don Giro was intend- 
ing to make the marriage of one of his chief 
officers the pretext of a great gathering of the 
brigands throughout the country, and the signal 
of a general rising. 


" This will be our opportunity, Schmerber, 
our crisis," cried the General. "Now, do you 
see ? If we succeed here, the campaign is 
finished. Giro has not done much against us 
as yet." 

" He has tried one or two things," said 
Schmerber. " There was that dash on Brindisi, 
in hopes of freeing the galley-slaves, but the 
cavalry met him a mile outside the walls, and 
our gentleman had no mind to come to close 
quarters ; so off he goes to Gallipoli, and as he 
met with the same reception there, he thought 
it best to retire and lie quiet for a while." 

" We are not a day too soon or a day too 
late," exclaimed the General, pacing the room 
eagerly. " Send off the officers to their dif- 
ferent posts. We could not have better news, 
Schmerber ! " 

That evening the General gave a farewell 
dinner to his friends at Lecce, preparatory to 
leaving the pleasant little town and taking the 
field against Don Giro. There were loyal and 
complimentary toasts .drunk, and then the 
General called upon his guests to drink to 
the downfall of Giro Annichiarico, the curse 
of Apulia. 

No one ventured to refuse ; some heartily 
applauded ; some agreed that it was well said, 
but, with shakings of the head and doubtful 


looks, asked how the thing was to be done ? 
Giro's name had been so long a terror to the 
land, the people dared not say a word : eighteen 
years' practice had made him perfect in the 
trade of an assassin. No one else was safe 
while he lived. But when General Church 
replied, " Well, gentlemen, have it your own 
way. Either act with me, heart and soul, or 
withdraw to your own houses, and keep out of 
it altogether. For my own part, I swear never 
to rest till I have destroyed the scoundrel Giro 
Annichiarico and all his bloodhounds ! " "I will 
ride with you ! " cried one. " And I ! " " And 
I!" "And I!" they said, catching the fire 
from each other ; while a worthy lawyer a 
great friend of the General's declared with 
a laugh that though he was too fat to ride, 
and had a distinct dislike to the neighbour- 
hood of musket -balls, he would put his un- 
wieldy body into a carriage and go from place 
to place to exhort others to join in the good 

And now, let us turn to San Marzano and 
Vito del Serio. 

A mountain village, straggling up and down 
amongst crags and walls, the houses jumbled 
among patches of olives, wherever there was 
a little bit of flat ground. At the top of all 



a castle, and below the village a belt of woods. 
Altogether a capital place for defence, and 
therefore a favourite haunt for banditti at all 
times ; and the people, who were an Albanian 
colony of old time, were wild and rugged, and 
bore a bad character as favouring Don Giro and 
his band. 

The wedding-day had arrived, and the little 
town swarmed with guests armed to the teeth. 
The bride, a strapping brigandessa, did not 
depend on her splendid costume, bright eyes, 
and straight black brows entirely for her con- 
quests apparently. She was also armed with 
carbine and stiletto, and her hands and arms 
looked as if she were as capable of using them 
as was the bridegroom himself. She was lodged 
in the castle, which belonged to a certain Mar- 
chese Bonelli, whose agent, in fear of his own 
life, surrendered the keys, and placed the good 
wine at the disposal of his uninvited guests. 
The farms and houses around had been requi- 
sitioned, and right royally the brigands feasted 
in the castle-hall, joined by most of the inhab- 
itants, some from fear, some inspired by the 
eloquent harangues delivered, glass in hand, 
by Vito del Serio and his charming bride. 
As the day grew on, their courage grew too. 
The wine flowed freely, the people gathered 
round and swore fidelity to Giro and the 


Decisi with brimming glasses and ringing 
cheers. Then they swore to put down every- 
thing sacred on earth, and sealed the oath by 
rushing to the ramparts and discharging their 
muskets. And this was so delightful and in- 
spiring that they shouted out decrees, ratify- 
ing each with a bumper and a volley. Death 
to the king ! to all kings and rulers ! to all 
Governments ! to the Pope ! to il Generate 
Giorgio (Church) ; and this was taken up and 
repeated with shouts of a " Brindisi ! Brin- 
disi ! Brindisi ! " J to the death of il Generale 
Inglese! and a fresh rush to the battlements, 
with shouts and firing of muskets, until, to 
relieve their excitement, the company called 
for a tarantella, the music struck up, and 
the dancing and drinking grew wilder and 
wilder, and the dancers were ready to defy 
the world ! 

Suddenly a bugle-call was heard in the direc- 
tion of Francavilla. The dancing came to a 
sudden stop. Cheeks turned pale, eyes sought 
one another doubtfully. Vito del Serio ran to 
the top of the castle ramparts, and looked 
across the great green plain, dotted with white 
villages, and bounded by the Gulf of Taranto. 
He shaded his eyes from the low rays of the 
afternoon sun. " Gli Albanesi ! " he cried 

1 A Brindisi means a bumper. 


(General Church's Greek soldiers were called 
Albanesi by the people), " they are coming ! 
but they are few." And then, after a pause 
" No, no ; fear nothing they are taking an- 
other road ; " and he descended from his post 
of observation. The dancing began again, but 
not with the same spirit as before, though the 
talk was brave enough. " Gli Albanesi are out 
of sight," said the revellers. " They are afraid 
of us ; they have run away. Ah, we shall hear 
no more of them ! " But in a few minutes the 
sound of a drum beating a march was heard, 
and there was a rush to the walls. 

" What is it ? What is it ? " 

" Nothing, nothing ; only some soldiers going 
to Taranto. Buon viaggio, signori ! there they 

" Where, where ? " 

" Over there. See a small column ; few, 
very few. They are marching towards the 
sea. Who's afraid ? " 

No one, of course. Yet they ceased the 
attempt to resume dancing, and hung together 
in groups ; and Don Giro marshalled his men 
to their appointed posts some to the flat roofs 
of the houses, some to the walls, some to the 
top of the castle. The inhabitants, too, were 
provided with arms and ammunition, and took 
their places as they were directed. There was 


a shot in the wood which lies about the feet of 
the little town ; another, another ; then half a 
dozen in quicl^ succession. " To arms, friends 
and brothers ! " cried Giro Annichiarico and his 
officers. " They are coming ! Courage, brothers, 
courage ! " They were coming indeed ; for at 
that moment the winter sunlight shone among 
the trees on the black-plumed helmets of the 
cavalry, slowly descending the opposite hill, 
and the shots in the wood told of a skirmish 
between the brigand outposts and the gen- 

There was some sharp fighting, and the 
broken ground made it impossible for the 
cavalry to get to close quarters ; but a body 
of infantry under Major Francia was just 
behind, and rushing on with fixed bayonets, 
they carried the place in spite of a galling fire. 
Many of the brigands fled, and were cut down 
by the Greeks and gendarmes who were posted 
in the wood outside San Marzano. Some hid 
in cellars, and were dragged forth and delivered 
up by their quondam friends. The bride and 
bridegroom were amongst these. 

>fhe soldiers were for taking summary ven- 
geance on the villagers by burning the place 
to the ground, but this the officers would not 
allow ; so the captive brigands were bound and 
marched off to Francavilla, where the General 


had now taken up his headquarters, and the 
inhabitants of the place showered curses upon 
them, and loudly protested their devoted friend- 
ship for the Government. As to firing on the 
troops, or in any way assisting Don Giro, 
heaven forbid that they should do such a 
thing ! But the old soldiers smiled grimly, 
and pointed to hands grimed with gunpowder, 
and mouths black from biting cartridges evi- 
dent tokens that the people had joined in 
the fight ; and some forty stout fellows were 
marched up to the castle, there to remain 
prisoners till General Church's pleasure should 
be known. In San Marzano the troops cap- 
tured 130 horses belonging to Giro's followers, 
over 2000 firelocks, and several hundreds of 
pistols and stilettoes. 

And what had become of Don Giro ? 

He had escaped on his famous English mare, 
and no trace of him was to be found. But a 
few nights later a certain Don Giacomo di 
Montenegro was sitting over the fire, in his 
own home, in the outskirts of Brindisi, a cigar 
in his mouth, and a white nightcap on his head, 
peacefully ruminating, when he heard behind 
him the sound of stealthy footsteps, and turn- 
ing his head, beheld a man, wrapped in a long 
cloak, approaching him on tiptoe. To his horror 
he recognised the chief of the Decisi. " Don 


Giro ! " The cigar fell from the poor old gen- 
tleman's fingers. 

" Yes, it is I, Giro Annichiarico," was the 
reply " I, and no other, and I have not time 
for compliments. You must help me to escape 
from my persecutors one way or another, or 
you will repent it. Hide me in your house, 
or find a vessel to put me across seas, I care 
not where Tunis, Tripoli, Constantinople, 
anywhere beyond the power of this infernal 
Englishman ! Here are 200 ducats wherewith 
to charter a vessel, and I think you will hardly 
refuse Giro Annichiarico." 

A week earlier it would doubtless have been 
difficult to refuse such a request, but the taking 
of San Marzano, and the capture made at Grot- 
taglia immediately after of ten of Giro's chief 
officers, had put things in quite a new light. 
Giro must have been astonished when the old 
gentleman rose, and, taking off the nightcap, 
faced the unbidden guest with a certain dignity 
and determination. " Don Giro," he said, " I 
cannot protect you. I refuse your money, and 
despise your threats." 

Giro glared on him like a wild beast, trem- 
bling with rage at this unexpected check. 
" You refuse me ? You despise my threats ? 
Then look to yourself, for by " 

" Gently, signore, gently. I have no vessel 


to place at your disposal, in the first place ; 
and I could not hide you if I would, because 
my house is full of soldiers, and I am expecting 
the English General and his staff every moment. 
Just take the trouble to peep into the next 
room, and you will see the table prepared for 
supper. Hark, here they come ! " Sure enough, 
the clatter of horse-hoofs was heard in the 
courtyard. " Fly ! " cried Don Giacomo ; " fly, 
or you are lost ! " 

" Where can I fly ? " answered Don Giro, 
bitterly. " Those confounded soldiers are 

" There, go in there." Don Giacomo pointed 
to a small door. " Bolt yourself in, and don't 
answer till you hear me say ' H vento e buono ' ' 
and he dashed off to receive his guests. They 
proved to be some of the staff, and glad were 
they to find a roaring fire, and supper ready to 
be served up. 

" But the General ? where was he ? Should 
the supper wait his arrival 1 " 

" Oh no, by no means. He would arrive in 
an hour's time, and it would be a pity Don 
Giacomo's good things should be spoilt ; and as 
to our General, he is related to those creatures 
who live on air ! " 

So the officers were shown to their rooms, 
and then sat down gaily to supper, and then 


Don Giacomo was able to return to his prisoner, 
who opened the door at the given signal, asking 
eagerly, "Is all well ? " 

" No, very ill," was the reply, " and the 
sooner you leave this house the better. Under- 
stand that I cannot protect you, and would not 
if I could." 

" You say that to me ! Take care ! " And 
Giro laid his hand on his dagger. 

" Listen to me, signore abate. This English- 
man has trusted me, and I will not betray his 
confidence. He was my friend once, years ago. 
No, it is no use putting your hand to your 
dagger. Of course you can kill me, but you 
can't get out of this house without my help. 
Look out of the window if you doubt it." 

Don Giro took three strides across the room, 
and looked down into the great courtyard. 
Armed and mounted sentinels guarded the 
gates, tall grenadiers paced the court or stood 
about in groups, officers and orderlies passed 
to and fro. All were armed, all alert all on 
the watch for him ! Giro's hand was lifted, 
and then fell to his side with a gesture of 
despair. " Traitor ! " he muttered through his 
set teeth. 

" Not so, Don Giro ; I should be a traitor if 
I broke faith with the General." 

" What is it about this Englishman that 


makes you all run after him ? You his friend 
and why ? " 

"Well," answered the old gentleman, thought- 
fully, " well, we are old friends. I'll tell you 
the story. When Joachim Murat was King of 
Naples, an English frigate came and burned a 
French frigate here in our harbour, under our 
very noses ! " 

" That's true, for I saw it with my own eyes, 
and a gallant thing it was," interrupted Don 

" Well, I don't know that we liked the 
Englishmen the worse for doing it. The 
captain and a friend of his, an English colonel, 
lodged in my house for weeks. Fine fellows 
they were, and we became great friends. After 
a time the colonel went away on a mission to 
Zante for his Government, and while he was 
absent the captain and all his crew were 
drowned, by the upsetting of their boat in a 
sudden squall. All Brindisi lamented them, 
and when the colonel came back and learned 
the fate of his friends, he was like a man dis- 
tracted ; all the more so because, before he 
could find the bodies and have them honour- 
ably buried, an English frigate came and carried 
him away. He put a sum of money into my 
hands not that I wanted money from him 
begging me to do for his friends what he was 


prevented from doing himself, and we parted 
with many promises of undying friendship. I 
was glad to be able to let him know that the 
bodies of the captain and the sailors were found 
and buried with military honours, as he would 
have wished ; and except for a letter of thanks, 
I heard no more of him. This was four years 
ago. When, some months since, I heard that 
the new General who had been sent to take 
charge of the province was an Englishman 
the English are good people, thought I I 
will go to Lecce, and pay my respects to this 
General, for my old friend's sake. So I went, 
and to my delight found that the General com- 
manding was no other than my old friend 

" You mean to deliver me up to him ? " 

" Not that either, signore. You shall get 
out of this house and out of Brindisi safe and 
sound for me. After that I wash my hands of 
you, and you must trust to your own devices, 
which have got you out of many a worse scrape 
ere this." 

"You shall pay for this!" muttered the 
baffled villain under his breath. 

But Don Giacomo heard him, and with a 
shrug of the shoulders and outward spreading 
of the palms, " Don't threaten, please," said he. 
" The house is full of soldiers, you know, and 


a word from me but I am a peaceable man, 
and you are wise. Only, I don't choose to be 
insulted in my own house." 

" Well, well, one must submit to fate," 
growled Don Giro ; " but in truth I am tired 
of this life." 

" Truly you would do well to take to an 
honester one," answered Don Giacomo, senten- 
tiously. " Perhaps you might get a pardon as 
others have done." 

" I get a pardon ? No chance of that. This 
confounded General has sworn my destruction." 

" How do you know that, Don Giro ? " 

" He said it at Lecce, at his own dinner- 
table. It was reported to me by one who was 
there, word for word. Not that I care a fig 
about dying ; but when I think of that man 
my blood freezes ! Fifty plots have I laid 
against him, and all have failed. Oh, I have 
seen him ! A little man, two inches shorter 
than I, and too young for a general. But he 
rides well, and he has an eye ! I went to the 
theatre at Lecce on purpose to see him. I have 
tried to gain over his soldiers, but to no pur- 
pose. Even the gendarmes, half of whom are 
Carbonari, are my bitter foes now that this 
Englishman has come into Apulia. Did not 
they lead the attack at San Marzano ? Car- 
bonari, Calderari the names go for nothing 


they all forget their differences to run after 
his pleasure ! Did he not have the whole 
Decisione seized at Grottaglia, in their own 
council-chamber ? Ay, and he got his infor- 
mation from Grottaglia itself, my own town. 
And now you, you yourself, Don Giacomo, are 
against me, and for him, the Englishman ! " 

" Come, Don Giro ; no use wasting time in 
words. Look here," and he flung a bundle 
on the ground, " these clothes belong to my 
sister. Dress yourself in them, and put your 
own into this bag. I will be back directly." 

He went to receive General Church, who 
was at that moment riding into the court- 
yard, and having seen him safe in the room 
prepared for him, returned accompanied by a 
little boy. 

" Carlo, attend ! " said Don Giacomo, putting 
his hand on the child's shoulder. " Look at me, 
and not at the signora, Carlo." 

" Si, signore," said the boy, stealing a wistful 
and wondering glance at the figure in female 
habiliments, the face muffled with veil and 

" Take the signora's bundle, Carlo mio that 
is right and conduct her to the shore, and set 
her across the harbour to the back of the castle. 
Do you understand ? " 

"Si, si, signore." 


" And when you have landed her, come back 
quick and do just what the signora bids you." 

" Signore, si, si," cried the urchin, shoulder- 
ing his bundle, in a hurry to be off. 

"And mind you don't speak to any one, 
Carlo. Addio, signora. Felice notte e buon 
viaggio;" and Giro and his little guide de- 

They passed through a long gallery purposely 
but dimly lighted, and were scarcely noticed by 
the officers who stood talking in groups ; they 
descended the staircase and crossed the great 
hall unchallenged, though some curious glances 
and laughing remarks followed the passage of 
the muffled female and her little guide. Just 
as they reached the door, they nearly ran into 
a tall young captain of hussars just entering, 
and he exclaimed, " Holloa, my dear ! don't be 
frightened. I've a mind to see what kind of a 
face is hidden under that hood ; " but luckily 
for Don Giro, Colonel Bentz was within ear- 
shot, and took up his young friend pretty 

"You'll do nothing of the kind. What 
business is it of yours if the girl is handsome 
or plain ? Any woman belonging to this house 
is to be treated with respect." 

" All right, colonel," answered the young 
man, good-humouredly. " I was only joking." 


" Some petitioner to the General some con- 
trabbandista" suggested another. 

" Upon my word ! " said another, " did you 
see her eyes ? I caught a look, and thought 
such eyes only belonged to Giro or the devil ! " 

"You young fool," answered Colonel Bentz, 
with a laugh, in which the rest joined, " you 
see Don Giro everywhere. You must be 
precious afraid of him. Fancy looking for 
him in Don Giacomo's house ! " 

And while the discussion was going on, Giro 
had slipped past, crossed the court, answered 
the challenge of the sentinels, and in due 
time had been rowed across the harbour, and 
deposited at the foot of the castle. The little 
boy returned to Don Giacomo, and reported 
that the signora donna had shaken her fist 
and poured forth "mffle maledizioni" as she 
sprang ashore, and added shrewdly, " For my 
part, signore, I don't believe that the signora 
donna is a signora donna at all." 

Then Don Giacomo went up-stairs to the 
General's room and told him the whole story, 
winding up with, "And now-- I can only 
throw myself on your Excellency's friendship 
for Giacomo di Montenegro." 

General Church had listened without a word 
of interruption. Now he looked up, and there 
was a comical twinkle in his eye. " Do you 


think I am angry with you, old friend, for 
letting the scoundrel go ? Not a bit of it ! 
How could you give him up, when you had 
passed your word? If you had been capable 
of such a thing you would be no friend of 

Happy Don Giacomo ! Before General 
Church knew what was coming, his hand was 
seized and repeatedly kissed. 

" Well, well," said the General, " pray let's 
say no more about it. It would be awkward 
for us both if the story got abroad." 

" I am well aware of that so far as I 
am concerned. But, your Excellency, I have 
still a favour to ask for the honour of my 

" I guess your meaning, my friend. How 
long will it take to get twenty miles from 
Brindisi ? " 

" Four or five hours." 

" Then don't let us say another word about 
Don Giro till daybreak. That will give the 
fellow rope enough, I think ! " 

One cannot help fancying that it must have 
been with a certain shamefacedness that the 
quixotic General told the story next morning 
to his trusty chief of the staff, who drily re- 
marked in reply, that by this time Giro was 
probably off to the mountains. To which 


General Church retorted that Giro was cer- 
tainly gone to his own town of Grottaglia, 
which he would think all the safer because 
of the General's foray lately made there. 

So now, some days were spent in riding 
about the country from place to place, wher- 
ever any trace of the chief of assassins was 
to be heard of. In the saddle at daybreak, 
with no refreshment but a cup of coffee and 
a biscuit, off to this village or that masseria, 
visiting outposts, questioning peasants, and 
back after thirty or forty miles' ride to Franca- 
villa to dine, and then snatch a couple of 
hours' sleep on a sofa, booted and spurred, 
and wrapped in his long cloak. Once as he 
rode with his troops, accompanied by some 
gentlemen of the province, along a deep-cut 
lane leading to Grottaglia, Giro himself was 
hidden among the bushes above him : so close 
was he that by stooping he could have touched 
the General's plume ! and he was raising his 
carbine to fire, when the sudden appearance of 
some soldiers in the high field where the brig- 
ands were concealed forced them to mount 
and dash away for dear life. Meanwhile 
General Church rode through the lane below, 
chatting cheerfully, and unaware of the near- 
ness of his foe. Grottaglia was reached, and 
the soldiers passed through silent and deserted 


streets. Not a woman looked forth from her 
window to see the troops ride by ; if a man 
appeared, he averted his face and hurried 
by without look or greeting. But just as 
they rode through the gates of the rebellious 
little town, a venerable-looking white-bearded 
old monk met them. Throwing back his hood, 
he gazed earnestly on the martial array, then 
raising his hands, he solemnly invoked a bless- 
ing from heaven on the leader and his men. 

" Thanks, many thanks, good father," said 
General Church, saluting the old monk re- 
spectfully. " Thanks all the more because 
yours is the only salutation I have met with 
since I entered the city of Grottaglia." 

Soon after this General Church appeared 
before San Marzano. Out came the people 
to meet him, the sindaco, the clergy in their 
robes, the women carrying olive - branches. 
There was an ovation of welcome to the de- 
liverer, and protestations of joy at the defeat 
of the brigands, and of hope for Giro's over- 
throw to all which the General answered 
never a word, but sat like a statue, surrounded 
by his officers, apparently absorbed in his own 
contemplations. The sindaco implored him 
to enter the city, where a feast was prepared 
for him. Still no reply. The women (and 
this was the trying part of the business, says 


the General pathetically, for many were hand- 
some and graceful, and of respectable families !) 
knelt before him with waving of olive-branches 
and frantic cries of " Misericordia ! Pieta!" 
Still he hardened his heart, requested the fair 
dames and damsels to rise, and, turning to 
the sindaco, said that he would not enter 
San Marzano in peaceful wise till it had made 
up for its late bad behaviour. As to the 
priests, who .came forward in their turn, he 
would have nothing to say to them. It was 
their duty to teach the people obedience to 
the law, peace, and charity ; whereas the con- 
duct of San Marzano showed that the people 
had been very ill taught indeed. " I will 
never enter your town," he said, " till you 
have wiped away the disgrace of having fought 
against the king's troops. I give you five 
days wherein to find Don Giro, or put me 
in the way of finding him. If you do not 
do this, San Marzano shall be burnt to the 
ground. You may send away your women 
and children, but not a man of you will leave 
this place without a permit from me or one 
of my officers, on pain of being sent for trial 
to the Military Commission at Franca villa." 
And he rode away. 

Three days later, General Church reached 
Ostuni after a forty miles' ride, and having 


made arrangements for the following day, dis- 
missed Colonel Schmerber and the aides-de- 
camp for a few hours of much -needed rest. 
But there was to be no sleep for them that 
night. The General had just wrapped his 
military cloak around him, when far away, 
through the silence of the winter night, only 
broken by the " Qui vive ? " of the sentinel at 
the gate, he heard the ringing of horses' feet. 
He threw open the window. Surely that was 
in the direction of Francavilla ? Truly the 
rider rode fast, and came nearer and nearer ; 
now he stopped at the gate of Ostuni, for that 
was the sentinel's challenge. Then came the 
clattering hoofs, full gallop, along the narrow 
little paved street : he drew rein at the court- 
yard of the General's quarters, and again there 
was the " Qui vive?" the password, the un- 
barring of the great gates, the entrance within 
the court, the parley at the castle-door. How 
long it seemed while the huge key was turning 
in the rusty lock, and the bars being pushed 
back, to let the messenger in ! The General 
hurried from his room, and nearly fell into the 
arms of Colonel Schmerber, who rushed breath- 
less up-stairs. 

" A courier, General a courier from Franca- 
villa ! We've got him, General, we've got him ; 
the devil has abandoned him at last ! " 


Close at his heels, covered with mud from 
head to foot, came the courier. " God fights 
for your Excellency, and Giro is fast in the 
net. Francia, Bianchi, Guarini, Corsi, send 
their congratulations. They salute your Ex- 
cellency. Here is the despatch." 

" Fusco, you shall choose the best horse that 
you can find for this ! " and as he spoke, the 
General broke the seals of the despatch, and 
read as follows : 

" ECCELLENZA, Don Giro is in the tower of Sca- 
serba, closely surrounded. He can't escape. He has 
killed and wounded several of our men. The troops are 
enthusiastic, the militia behave well. The volunteers 
were the first to discover him. He defends himself 
desperately. Your arrival will finish the business, if 
it is not finished before. The troops of Francia, Corsi, 
Bianchi, surround Scaserba, while the guns threaten 
Grottaglia; but even that town is for us now. The 
road is too bad to bring the guns here. 


" Montez, montez, messieurs!" cried the Gen- 
eral, all fatigue forgotten. "For you, Fusco, 
eat, drink, sleep, and then join me at Scaserba." 

" Heaven forbid, your Excellency ! I need 
nothing but a fresh horse ; " and in a few 


minutes they were riding full speed through 
the sleeping town, leaving for the master of 
the house the following note, written by the 
General on a scrap of paper : " The abate is in 


the net. Pray God for a happy ending to our 

On they dashed, through grey olive-woods 
and leafless vineyards, under the rocky heights 
of Cisternita, past the fortified masserie that 
are scattered round the Monte di Martina, 
drawing rein for the first time as the day was 
breaking, at the top of a ridge, whence they 
saw stretching below them the wide plain, 
dotted with white towns and towers, and 
among them the tower of Scaserba. Not a 
word had been spoken since they left Ostuni, 
and Schmerber broke the silence by saying, 
" This time, General, we have him fast ! " 

" We shall see, mon cher," was the answer ; 
" seeing is believing ! Spur on ! Forward, 
gentlemen ! " 

On, on, across the plain, till they neared the 
tower. Peaceful it lay, in the misty sunshine 
of the February morning ; no sound or sight of 
war broke the stillness. They accosted some 
peasants, and heard that the siege was over, 
and Giro a prisoner. As they reached Grot- 
taglia the news was confirmed by seeing that 
the camp outside the city, with its two cannon 
set to overawe the place, had been taken away. 
So they were late for the finish, after all ! 







WE must go back a little to give the account 
of the siege and Giro's capture. 

The masserie or farmhouses of Apulia [we are told] 
are all built on the same plan, and capable of defence. 
They date from the period when the incursions of 
pirates were frequent, and the people shut themselves 
up with their cattle and valuables when an attack was 
apprehended. A square solid wall surrounds the dwell- 
ing-house, which is built on one side of the enclosure, 
and contains two or three rooms. The stables and out- 
houses form a right angle to the dwelling-house, also 
within this wall. A tower of two storeys stands apart, 
and is ascended by stone steps, or by a ladder or draw- 
bridge. . . . Giro, worn out with fatigue, took refuge 
with a few companions in the Masseria de Scaserba. 
He had previously provided it with provisions and 
ammunition. When he saw the militia of San Mar- 
zano searching for him he was not alarmed, thinking 


he could easily cut his way through them. He shot 
the first man dead who came within his range. The 
militia of San Marzano sent information of his pres- 
ence to the nearest troops, and Giro found himself 
surrounded. Seeing that a vigorous assault was in- 
tended, he locked up the people of the masseria in 
their straw-magazine, and mounted the tower with his 

A very few well-armed men could hold the 
tower against hundreds, and the brigands 
defended themselves vigorously till nightfall. 
Giro tried to escape in the darkness, but the 
neighing of a horse apprised him that rein- 
forcements of cavalry had arrived, whose purr 
suit it would be hopeless to elude ; so he 
returned, having killed one of the voltigeurs 
stationed under the wall from which he had 
meant to descend. He shut himself up again 
in his tower, and spent the rest of the night in 
making cartridges. 

At daybreak the besiegers tried to break 
open or burn the gates of the masseria, but 
the besieged repulsed them with a rapid and 
well-directed fire, killing and wounding several 
assailants. Then a 4 - pounder was pointed 
against the roof of the tower, and the tiles 
and bricks came rattling down, forcing the 
brigands to descend to the lower storey. Worn 
out with fatigue, tormented by burning thirst, 
Giro called a parley. Upon this the troops 


ceased firing, and Bianchi came forward. Giro 
showed himself at the door of the tower. 

" Good morning, gentlemen. I wish to speak 
with the General." 

" Impossible, Don Giro." 

" But I am willing to treat with him ! What 
kind of a man is this, who refuses to speak with 
me ? with me, Giro Annichiarico ! " 

" Not even with you, Don Giro." 

" I have had the honour of speaking with 
many generals and I have many things to say 
to Generale Giorgio." 
, " That may be, Don Giro." 

"But I wish to treat with him, I tell you. 
Good heavens ! what a man is this, who refuses 
to see me ! " He stood there, a wild figure, his 
eyes glaring fiercely from his powder-grimed 
face, showing his teeth like a wild beast, and 
trembling with rage then, " Water, water ! " 
he gasped, " for the love of God, let me have 
a drop of water ! " 

Bianchi signed to a soldier, who ran forward 
with a pitcher. Giro drank greedily, and 
would have handed it back. 

" Give the rest to your comrades," said 
Bianchi ; " and now, Don Giro, defend your- 
self as long as you choose, but you can't 
escape. We don't care if we have the tower 
to-day or to-morrow, but have it we will." 


" We are rich, signore maggiore : those who 
serve us are wise ! " 

It was an unlucky speech to make to one of 
General Church's officers, and Bianchi's wrath 
blazed out, " Rascal, assassin," he shouted, " get 
back to your tower ! The parley is it an end." 

With a curse Don Giro withdrew, and as he 
did so a rattling fire came from the loopholes 
of the tower, killing two voltigeurs who were 
standing incautiously exposed. 

The firing went on till evening, and then 
another parley was called. Giro appeared again 
at the head of his ladder. 

" Conduct me to the General, then." 

" Only as a prisoner, Don Giro." 

"So be it, then ; " and ordering his men to 
cease firing and lower the drawbridge, he 
crossed it rapidly, and in another moment 
was disarmed and bound. On being searched 
they found on him several amulets, some 
French songs, and a red pocket-book which 
contained a packet of poison, and his diploma 
as chief of the Decisi. It seems strange that, 
knowing his certain fate, he had not courage 
at last to " end all " by self-destruction. 

Soon the whole band of brigands, strongly 
fettered and closely guarded, were on their 
march to Francavilla. Giro kept a gloomy 
silence all the way, except once, when he 


suddenly broke out, rolling his eyes and gnash- 
ing his teeth. " For eighteen years I have 
been absolute master of the province. I have 
made fools of many generals French, Italian, 
Swiss, German, Neapolitan and now at last 
I have been made a fool of by this accursed 
Englishman ! " After this he did not open his 
lips till he and his escort reached Francavilla. 

Franca villa was illuminated that night not 
for joy at the capture, but because the soldiers 
were few and the disaffected many, and it was 
safer that no corners should be left in darkness. 
So, by military order, every house and street 
and square blazed with light. The houses 
opposite the prison were occupied by soldiers, 
four gendarmes kept guard in the room where 
the fallen chief of assassins lay, four hussars 
kept the door, cavalry patrolled the street out- 
side, and very glad and thankful were his cap- 
tors to hand over their prey to the General 
when he arrived early in the morning. 

Both the civil and military authorities would 
have had Giro put to death then and there as 
an outlaw ; but " No," said General Church. 
" I am quite aware that he is beyond the pale 
of the law, but he shall have a fair trial for 
all that. Oh yes, I daresay he has been tried 
and convicted a dozen times, but his friends 
shall not say we don't dare bring him to justice 


publicly, or that we fear a rescue." So Giro An- 
nichiarico was arraigned for his crimes, accord- 
ing to the usual forms. When he was first 
brought in he made a speech, which he ad- 
dressed, as he thought, to General Church. 
Being told that the General was not present, 
and refused a private interview with him, " Ho 
capita " (I understand), he said, and from that 
time, all through his trial, never answered a 
question or spoke a word. 

On the 8th of February 1818 he was led 
to his death through the streets of Francavilla, 
which were crowded with spectators, as were 
the roofs and windows too. The church-bells 
tolled, the black coffin was carried along, pre- 
ceding the criminal, who walked between two 
files of soldiers, carrying himself with an air 
of haughty defiance, and turning scornfully 
from the Mission priests, who followed, anxious 
to call some feeling of repentance to this hard- 
ened soul. The piazza was filled with troops 
and guarded by cannon. In the centre waved 
the banner of the Decisi black, with the in- 
signia of death's-head and cross-bones and 
close beside it stood a row of soldiers, carbine 
in hand. Giro took his place, asking for wine- 
and-water, which was given him, and then 
turning to the priests with a snarl, " Away ! " 
he said. " Am I not a priest ? Am I not the 


Abate Annichiarico, and your superior ? " and 
to one kindly old priest, who, holding out the 
crucifix, begged him at least to give one sign 
of penitence, he added, pushing away the sacred 
sign with an impatient gesture, "Come, these fel- 
lows would as soon shoot you as me so be off." 

The crowd looked on in shuddering silence ; 
then there was a murmur, "It is he truly it 
is Don Giro ; " but there was no thought of a 
rescue, the people being overawed. A soldier 
came forward to tie a white bandage over his 

" Ah, bah ! " he said, with something of his 
usual swagger, " I will not die so ; I will die 
like a soldier, my eyes open. Here is my breast 
fire, my friends ! " 

" Not so, not so, villain ! " cried the soldiers 
with one voice : " you shall die the death of a 
dog ! You a soldier ! Never, never ! Mur- 
derer, prepare to die ! " 

These words rang loud and clear through 
the silence, and were taken up and repeated, 
first by two or three of the crowd, then swell- 
ing to a kind of groan " Scelerato I assassino ! 
maladetto ! " reaching the ear on all sides. 
Then Giro's courage forsook him ; his head 
sank on his breast ; passively he submitted to 
be blindfolded, knelt as he was desired to do, 
with his back to the file of soldiery. A blast 


from a trumpet, a volley of musketry, and he 
fell to the ground. But though twelve balls 
took effect, he still breathed, and a second 
volley was necessary to put an end to his 
sufferings. " As we perceived," said one of 
the soldiers, " that he was enchanted, we then 
loaded his own musket with a silver bullet, 
and this destroyed the spell." In another 
moment his head was severed from his body 
and held up before the spectators with procla- 
mation, " This is the head of the chief of 
assassins, Giro Annichiarico of Grottaglia." 

It was over. Giro was dead. There was 
an awestruck silence, such as follows the crash 
of some tremendous thunder-peal. Then heads 
were lifted, some one in the crowd cried, " E 
ben fatto I " (Well done !), and the crisis was 
over. " Evviva, evviva il Generate! we are 
free, we are free ! " cried the multitude, waving 
their hats, and pressing round with shouts of 
joy ; while General Church, riding forward, 
addressed the crowd, thanking them for their 
loyalty, and exhorting them to show its sin- 
cerity by helping him to clear their beautiful 
Apulia from the robbers and murderers who 
had so long infested it. 

The head of Giro was carried to Grottaglia, 
and placed in an iron cage over the gate of the 







THERE is no general rule without exceptions ; 
but in the main it is true that sympathy begets 
sympathy, trust begets trust, and this seems to 
have been the reason that General Church and 
his little force were always so successful. They 
trusted him, and knew he trusted them they 
would follow him anywhere ; and he, on his 
part, cannot say enough in praise of his 
officers, and of those soldiers who had served 
with him, especially the troop of hussars whom 
he himself had formed, and his Greeks, who 
followed him here with the like devotion as 
in after years. 

The militia, he says, were " sometimes very 
bad " ; the gendarmes fine-looking men and 
well appointed, but so many of them belonged 


to various secret societies that they were not 
altogether trustworthy. In his own words, 
" the stuff to work upon was not so bad as 
had been represented," and he made the best 
of it. 

There are many incidents which show how 
the frankness and trustfulness of the man ap- 
pealed to those with whom he came in contact. 
Stern he could be, but it was when he met 
with cruelty or double - dealing. He was 
evidently on the most friendly terms with the 
gentlemen of the province who answered to 
his call, and he again and again refers to 
their loyal co-operation and friendliness. 

Don Giro could make nothing of this ad- 
versary, and even his own officers were puzzled 
sometimes at his apparent insouciance. 

" I can't understand you, General," quoth 
Colonel Schmerber one winter's dawn, as they 
rode together down a steep and stony defile 
which led from Martina to the plain of Fran- 
cavilla. It was bitter cold, and the long files 
of the troops were winding their way through 
the narrow Apennine road, with steep cliffs 
rising on either side. Here and there, through 
the semi-darkness, on some shelf of the rock, 
or where the space widened out, gleamed ghost- 
like one of those curious conical huts which the 
peasants build for shelter, of white stones with- 


out mortar ; walls and roof alike of stones piled 
together, looking something like large ant-hills, 
and white as snow. General Church and his 
chief of the staff had halted, and were watching 
the troops filing by. The General smiled. 

" What can't you understand, Schmerber ? " 

" Why, General, we have been for a week 
at Martina on the look-out for Don Giro, 
knowing it was one of his favourite lurking- 
places. Nevertheless, you have been about 
among the people without precautions, and 
never asked a question about the fellow all 
the time we were there ! Oh, people were 
surprised at it, I can tell you ! " 

" I learnt everything I wanted to know. 
Besides, asking questions is your business, mon 
cher, not mine." 

" Well, General, it was only Don Giro's 
native modesty which prevented his dining 
with you. He was in Martina all the time, 
and probably is not far off from us at this 

"Very likely," tranquilly replied General 
Church ; "let us hope that we may make 
him wish himself farther off before long." 

" And," continued the colonel, impressively, 
"he was much astonished that you never men- 
tioned his name at Martina." 

" Oh ho ! he thinks he has soft hands to 


deal with, no doubt ! But let us see what 
Bianchi says ; " and Major Bianchi was sum- 

" Well, Bianchi," said the General, " I am 
anxious to hear what Don Giro said about me." 

The major's eyes twinkled, despite an attempt 
to assume a solemn and deprecatory air. 

" Indeed, Eccellenza, I dare not. I positively 
can't repeat the language he made use of in 
speaking of your Excellency. Pray excuse 

" Bah, Bianchi, out with it ! " 

" Well, General, it comes to this : Don Giro 
is equally astonished and mortified at your want 
of interest in him ; he declares that you and 
your officers are con rispetto a pack of asses ; 
and of you especially he observes, 'M una bestia, 
e una bestia, who knows nothing about affairs 
of importance ! But I'll pull his house about 
his ears/ he said, clenching his fists and swear- 
ing in a manner which I would not repeat to 
your Excellency for worlds. ' As to his officers, 
what good are they but to eat and drink ? I'll 
have their lives, every man of them ! Could 
you have believed it ? It is incredible, yet it 
is perfectly true, that this fool of a General '- 
con rispetto again ' has never once mentioned 
my name in Martina. Never spoken of me 
me Don Giro Annichiarico ! Better generals 


than he have trembled at my name. But he 
shall pay for it ! He shall pay for it ! Bestial ' ' 

" All right," said General Church ; " the ras- 
cal's vanity will prove his downfall, and we 
shall soon have him rush upon his fate. Then, 
when he is in the middle of the net, we'll pull 
the strings, and addio, Don Giro ! " 

But this conversation took place as the troops 
rode out of Martina. Let us go back a little, 
and accompany the General as he rode in to 
this same place, on his way to Lecce, in the 
early part of the year 1818. 

Martina, he says, is a little town of 15,000 
inhabitants, lying on the top of a hill, about 
five miles from Lecce. The place was friendly 
to Don Giro Annichiarico, who often made it 
his headquarters, appearing fearlessly in its 
streets at mid-day. On the other hand, the 
Duchess of Martina was a great friend of the 
General, and was now residing in Martina ; 
and Colonel Schmerber, chief of the staff, had 
received private letters from two principal 
inhabitants of the place, expressing anxiety 
for the General's arrival. 

The troops halted on a hillside opposite 
Martina, while General Church took out his 
spy-glass to reconnoitre the place. The troops 
shouted, " Evviva nostro Generate ! " while he 
gave orders that they should form in line of 


battle and march down the hill, and then up 
the opposite hill into the town. But just 
then a stir and movement was visible at the 
gates of the little city, and a halt was called, 
while the spy-glass was put into requisition 
again. " They are coming out to meet us," 
said General Church ; and so they were. 
Down the opposite hillside they came, a pic- 
turesque though not very orderly procession. 
The bishop, a stately figure, in mitre and cope, 
his cross borne before him, followed by his 
clergy ; the sindaco and the principal citizens ; 
and pressing round and behind them, as many 
of the inhabitants of the city as could find 
any excuse for doing so men and maidens, 
women with babes in their arms or brown-eyed 
toddlers clinging to their skirts, old men staff 
in hand, wild-looking lads, some following, 
some in groups and knots outside the gate, 
watching with anxious curiosity. On the other 
slope the troops descended to meet them, flags 
flying, drums and trumpets sounding, and a 
very fine show they made, says General Church. 
At the bottom of the hill the two parties 
met, and then came the alighting from horse- 
back, the mutual compliments and salutations, 
the bishop's benediction to the troops as they 
filed past ; and then they all entered the city, 
where the General and his staff were most 


hospitably received in the house of Don Mar- 
tino di Ricupero ; and the people, seeing them 
on such friendly terms with the bishop and 
the sindaco, even raised a Viva as they rode 
through the streets. 

General Church's account of his first evening 
at Martina affords us a glimpse of the man, 
and may show what gave him his power over 
all who came in contact with him. 

Imagine, then, the great rooms of Don 
Martino di Ricupero's house all ablaze in 
honour of the distinguished guest, the tables 
of the dining - room loaded with wines and 
viands of all kinds ; the dancing-room crowded 
by the good citizens, their wives and daughters ; 
the light of innumerable wax-candles falling on 
tapestried walls, and fair faces, and the gay 
uniforms of the soldier-guests ; and all the com- 
pany anxious to see the Englishman, who moved 
about, slight, alert, keen-eyed, thoroughly en- 
joying it all, the music, the conversation he 
was an excellent Italian scholar and though 
not dancing himself, encouraging his officers to 
do so, and watching the fair dancers Martina 
is famous, he tells us, for the beauty of its 
women with delight. " Enjoying it," he 
says, "with all his heart, and especially the 
conversation of the every - way interesting 
duchess and her sweet young daughter ! " 


Therefore he was by no means pleased to be 
interrupted by a sinister - looking individual 
who, edging his way through the crowd, mur- 
mured a request for a few moments' private 
interview on a matter of great importance. 
It was annoying ; but business before pleasure ! 
So, excusing himself to the charming duchess, 
the General followed the man into a little 
side-room which was empty, and requested to 
know what he wanted. 

" JSccellenza," he began in a hesitating 

" Speak, signore," was the answer. 

" Take care ! " with an impressive shake of 
the head and raised forefinger. 

" Take care of what, signore ? " 

" Has not your Excellency heard ? This 
house " 

" Is an excellent house I can see that." 

" But but your Excellency, the padrone ! " 

" The padrone is a man of honour." 

" / did not say so, your Excellency." 

" No matter ; / say so." 

" He is a friend of Don Giro's." 

"May be so, signore." 

" Your Excellency knows it ! and you dare 
trust yourself in his house ? " 

" Why not, signore ? " 

" But, Madonna mia ! consider, your Ex- 


cellency ! What could be easier ? A bowl of 
soup a cup of coffee a dish of olives " 

" Oh, I see ! But why not a glass of good 
rosolio, signore ? " and the General laughed. 

" Your Excellency treats the matter lightly," 
said the man, amazed that his suggestion of 
poison had taken so little effect. " I hope you 
may not repent it. At any rate, you have been 
warned, and I can say no more." 

" You have said quite enough, signore 
rather too much, in fact. Well, Don Martino 
shall hear of the matter." 

" For the love of God, don't betray me ! " 
gasped the poor man. " If you do, I am a 
dead man. If Giro knew that I had spoken 
to your Excellency it was with the best 

" Oh, don't alarm yourself, my friend," said 
the General, recovering his good-humour ; "I 
don't mean to mention your name, and, to set 
your mind at rest, I will promise not to say 
a word of the matter till I have left Martina. 
Ah ! " as a knock was heard at the door, 
" does that say that supper is ready ? And so 

The General adds that, though not a supper- 
eater in general, on this occasion he did not 
spare Don Martino's soup, nor his olives, nor 
the delicious ricotta sent from his farm outside 


the town, nor his excellent coffee, and that he 
finished up with a glass of rosolio di Bari. 
Neither did he choose to hurry away from 
Martina, but spent three more pleasant days 
there, and tells us that it was with great re- 
gret that he gave the order to depart, leaving 
the brightly lighted ball-room at four o'clock 
on a bitter winter's morning, and marching 
out, not as they entered, but silently, without 
blast of trumpet or beat of drum. 

From thence they went to Francavilla, 
where their reception was not gratifying. The 
streets were thronged with a scowling rabble, 
wrapped in their long cloaks, and not a single 
high-peaked hat was lifted to salute them as 
they rode along. However, one gentleman 
ventured to receive the General and his staff 
for the night, and next day they rode to 

For [says General Church] Francavilla is an open 
town, with wide streets, and standing in the plain, so 
that we could take possession of it at any moment, 
while the Governor of Lecce was urgent in sending 
messenger after messenger to say that he could no 
longer maintain himself there without protection. 

So to Lecce they went, the bright little 
capital, with its white houses, and the little 
streams running through the streets, and were 
received there, not very cordially, but without 


open show of resistance. It is true that the 
inhabitants had sent a deputation desiring 
the General not to enter into their city ; 
but, fortunately for themselves, the deputation 
took the wrong road, and never met the un- 
welcome visitors at all ! and when the good 
people of Lecce heard how well things had 
gone off at Martina, the courage of the Fila- 
delfi, Patrioti Europei, Filosofi, and other secret 
societies, cooled somewhat, in spite of their 
boasts of what they meant to do should the 
English General presume to set foot in their 

Here came Don Martiiio di Ricupero to join 
the General, riding over one evening to pour 
out his thanks because the General had trusted 
him, and refused to listen to evil tales. " True, 
he had been a protector of Don Giro ; but what 
could he do ? The Government does nothing 
to protect us, and if a man is not Giro's friend, 
one dare not stir out nay, one is not safe in 
one's own house, one is no longer master of 
one's own estate, of one's own servants even ; 
but as to being a friend of Don Giro ! signore, 
he has no greater enemy than I ! Your Ex- 
cellency has trusted me, has refused to be- 
lieve the calumnies brought against me. I am 
yours ; command me and all that I have ! " 

At this time [General Church says] murder was the 


order of the day, and the number of assassinations com- 
mitted weekly was from twenty to twenty-five. The 
magistrate's report always ended with " The assassins 
are unknown." The assassins were not unknown, but 
fear prevented their being denounced. People dared 
not travel unless they belonged to some secret society 
or other. The local authorities were thoroughly fright- 
ened, and law was paralysed. 

Such was the state of things during that 
January 1818, which General Church spent for 
the most part in Lecce, and during which he 
met with some curious experiences. Let us 
relate one from his own papers, first saying that 
there was a great deal of gaiety going on in 
Lecce, balls and banquets, masquerades and 
theatrical performances, in all of which the 
General freely joined, giving and receiving hos- 
pitality, mixing frankly with the people, and 
becoming, as well as his troops, very popular 
with them. 

One day after dinner General Church retired 
to his private room to study reports and medi- 
tate upon plans, leaving his officers and aides- 
de-camp to their own ways of amusement and 
occupation. Presently there was a knock at 
the door. A major of militia, said the aide-de- 
camp who knocked, desired a private audience 
with his Excellency. He was admitted, for the 
General never refused audience, in spite of many 
warnings from anxious friends, who feared that 


the assassin's stiletto might lurk under the long 
cloak. The General did not much like the ap- 
pearance of his visitor a down-looking man, 
with a restless uneasy way of moving and 
addressed him sharply, " Now, sir, what is your 
business ? We are alone, and you can speak 
freely." The major seemed thoroughly taken 
aback by this abruptness, and falteringly re- 
plied that, " Con rispetto, he had desired to 
speak with his Excellency not that he had 
anything very special to communicate." 

The General turned upon him with haughty 
displeasure, fixing his keen eyes on the major's 
face. "How is this, signore maggioref Let 
me know at once what brought you here. Why 
did you ask for a private audience ? Answer 
me that, signore." 

"That poor abate!" The words came out 
in hesitating fashion, accompanied by a furtive 
glance, to see how they were taken. 

" Oh ho ! " said the General, his eyes still on 
his interlocutor ; " and what of him, pray ? " 

"Why, perhaps your Excellency looks on 
him with an unfavourable eye." 

" Pshaw, signore maggiore ! Can you deny 
that the abate Annichiarico is a scoundrel ? " 

" Perhaps, your Excellency, he is not so bad 
as you think. If your Excellency would just 
listen to explanations." 


" Go on, signore ; I am listening." 
" Signore, he was in Lecce a day or two ago." 
" I know it ; and what of that ? " And as 
the major stared at him, dumfounded at hear- 
ing that this fact was known, the General added 
in a louder key, " I repeat my question. What 
did you come here to say about Don Ciro An- 
nichiarico ? " 

The major looked as if he wished himself 
elsewhere, and his mission at an end, as he 
faltered, " He is a brave man, your Excellency 
much beloved in the province." 

" I pity the province with all my heart, if it 
has any liking for such a ruffian." 
" He has powerful friends." 
" Including yourself, no doubt, signore." 
" All the district of Taranto is for him." 
" And your own town of Ciglia, and the 
militia, of which you are so worthy an officer." 
The poor major was making nothing by his 
mission. How did this strange Englishman 
come to know all these facts, which were to 
have been used by degrees, to impress him 
with the desirability of making an ally of Ciro? 
Yet to go away having done nothing was to 
turn the terrible brigand chief into an enemy ; 
so he said in his most insinuating tone, " If 
your Excellency would have him as a friend- 
remembering that he is powerful and rich." 


The General sprang to his feet, his eyes 
flashing with anger. " What is your name, 
signore ? " he demanded. 

"II Maggiore Vitali, at your Excellency's 
commands," was the trembling reply. 

" A charming mission this of yours, Signore 
Maggiore Vitali ! I wish you well out of it. 
Now then, a question or two. What have you 
to say about the murders committed by Don 
Giro ? the robbing of houses, the plundering of 
the country ? " 

" Oh, your Excellency, he is calumniated ! 
All lies, your Excellency ; he is an honest 

" How about his firing on my troops ? " 

" Pazzia, your Excellency, pazzia, pazzia ! " 

The General looked down upon him, and his 
voice became quiet and stern. " How about 
the murder of the young Princess of Mar- 
tano ? " 

" That I assure your Excellency it was 
altogether it was a lie to say he did it." 

The story of this cruel and brutal murder 
has been told in Chapter VII., and at this 
answer the General's anger, which had been 
smouldering, burst forth into fire. " Get out 
of this house instantly, vile messenger of an 
infamous assassin ! " he shouted, and suiting 
the action to the word, he seized the unfor- 


tunate major of militia by the nape of his neck 
with one hand, opening the door with the other, 
and, with a judicious kick, sent him spinning 
along the gallery outside, which was filled with 
officers and gentlemen of the town ! What a 
break to the friendly conversation which was 
going on between hosts and guests ! How they 
must have stared in amazement at the appear- 
ance of the unlucky messenger in such wise ! 
The General, the most courteous of men too, 
who would have expected him thus to dismiss 
a visitor ? 

" Take this fellow to the castle," shouted the 
angry chief, " and see him in safe-keeping there 
till I send for him again." And so it was done, 
and the luckless envoy had full time for reflec- 
tion before the day of his relief arrived. 

Let us relate another story which will also 
show General Church's mode of dealing with 
the people under his charge. 

In this same pleasant little city of Lecce 
there dwelt at this period, and had dwelt for 
some time, a certain Don Felice, a lawyer, rich 
and prosperous, in spite of hard times and a 
large family to support and place out in the 
world. How had Don Felice grown so rich ? 
How was it that his voice was always the 
loudest and boldest at any assembly ? that his 


fellow -townsmen listened to him so deferen- 
tially, and seemed so anxious to keep on good 
terms with him ? Just for this reason and a 
very good reason it was at that time that he 
was known to be a leading man in the sect of 
the Filadelfi, one of the secret societies of 
Apulia, and a personal friend of Don Giro, the 
dreaded chief of the Decisi. So Don Felice 
could swagger along the streets and give loud 
greetings in the piazza, and be listened to with 
eager deference while he declared his opinion 
that this new English General was as great a 
fool as his predecessors, and that the free people 
of Apulia would have none of him. 

There was a great meeting campo, they 
called it of the Filadelfi one January ' even- 
ing, 1818, presided over by Don Felice, at 
which he proposed, amid loud applause, that 
the murder of the English General should be 
decreed. No sooner said than done. The 
trumpet was blown, the decree was read 
aloud dooming to sudden and violent death II 
Generale Giorgio (their rendering of General 
Church's name), as a traitor to humanity : 
the decree was dated January 4, the fourth 
year of the Salentine Republic, and signed 
by Don Felice and others. Then came the 
question, How was the decree to be carried 
out ? There had been plenty of bluster till 


that was asked ; but when the president 
called upon the brethren to volunteer for the 
deed which would clear Apulia of this foe of the 
human race, his impassioned eloquence seemed 
to fall flat. Nobody responded, and after sev- 
eral vain appeals, he proposed that the decree 
should be forwarded to Don Giro Annichi- 
arico, who doubtless would find an instrument 
to carry it into execution. This was thought 
a delightful idea, and the assembly broke up 
with the comfortable feeling that somebody 
else would be found to bell the cat, while 
they remained safe and snug at home. 

The decree, therefore, was sent by sure and 
secret messenger to Don Giro, who very 
willingly undertook to see it carried out, and, 
as the first step, sent it on to his principal 
lieutenant, Gaetano Caffieri, who dwelt at 
Don Giro's own town, his birthplace, Grot- 
taglia, desiring him to call together a Decisi- 
one, or solemn meeting of the officials of the 
Decisi, to pass this and some other like 
decrees. By this time Giro's affairs were 
becoming desperate, and his last attempt at 
a general rising and combination of forces at 
San Marzano, and his flight thence and sub- 
sequent wanderings and capture, have been 
told before. 

If General Church could be got rid of by 


assassination, the whole face of affairs would 
be changed. His army would disperse ; the 
Government would go on in their former way, 
temporising and shutting their eyes to the 
misery of the province ; Don Giro would reap- 
pear triumphant, and more than ever the real 
ruler of Apulia. However, the decree never 
had a chance of being promulgated ; for the 
news of the rout and taking of San Marzano 
reached Grottaglia the same day, and at night 
one of the citizens, taking heart from the 
news, crept to the quarters of the English 
General, and told him of the Decisione to be 
held that night at Grottaglia, and that the 
principal officers of the Decisi would certainly 
be there, as not only the General, but all the 
gentlemen of Lecce who had joined him, were 
to be sentenced to death by assassination. 

Hardly had Signore Giosotti departed, fur- 
nished with full instructions from the General, 
when a despatch arrived from Captain Montorj, 
from San Marzano, giving an account of the 
capture of the place, and begging leave to 
pursue those of the brigands who had escaped. 
In reply the General sent a public letter of 
thanks to his brave troops, desiring them to 
march at once to a place which he mentioned, 
some twenty miles away. But there was also 
a private despatch, directing that when San 



Marzano was left well behind, the troops 
should make a sharp turn, and march as 
silently as possible to a masseria (farmhouse) 
about half a mile from Grottaglia, where they 
would meet a guide, and receive further in- 
structions as to their movements. 

At nightfall, then, they started, a large 
body of horse and foot, well armed, and led 
by some of General Church's most trusted 
officers ; and at the masseria, half a mile from 
Grottaglia, were met by Signore Giosotti, 
masked and wearing the uniform of a 

The night was cold, moonless, starless. It 
was midnight, and Grottaglia was wrapped 
in sleep. Not a man was to be seen, not a 
dog barked, as the foot-soldiers threaded their 
silent way along the narrow streets which led 
to the Piazza ; while the cavalry, by Signore 
Giosotti's directions, guarded all the entrances 
to the town, especially the byways, which were 
generally used by the contrabbandistas and 

The cavalry were desired to remain quiet 
unless they heard firing, a good deal of firing 
not just a few shots, but fifty or sixty 
volleys in which case they were to enter 
the town, and ride straight to the Piazza. 

The infantry, commanded by Captain Fusco, 


meanwhile had crept, almost on tiptoe, along 
the narrow, silent streets. The people of Grot- 
taglia had heard nothing of the fight and 
capture at San Marzano, and slept in fancied 
security, unwitting of the neighbourhood of 
any foe. So a platoon of infantry was posted 
in the Piazza, small parties were placed to 
guard the ends of the streets leading to it, 
and Fusco with some twenty picked men was 
guided by Signore Giosotti to the house where 
the Council of Blood was sitting, and the slum- 
berers of Grottaglia remained undisturbed. 

It was a large house, and most of its windows 
looked out into the street. So did the front 
door, before which Signore Giosotti and a dozen 
men were posted, with orders to remain quiet 
in the shadow, unless any one attempted to 
leave the house, in which case he was to be 
arrested and held fast. Fusco and his men 
his picked twenty crept round the corner 
of the street until they reached the back-door. 
The front door had been securely bolted, but 
to their surprise the back-door was not only 
unbolted, but standing a little ajar, and on 
gently pushing it and slipping inside, Major 
Fusco found the sentinel fast asleep ! There 
he sat, his hand on his pistol, his carbine 
beside him, the silver death's - head hanging 
round his neck, his high-crowned hat shading 


his swarthy features. It was the work of a 
moment to seize him, and a few energetic and 
expressive signs made him aware that his only 
escape from instant death lay in his silently 
showing the way up - stairs to the council- 
chamber, which he accordingly did, being gently 
urged thereto by the bayonets of the soldiers. 

Let us take a glance at the council- chamber 
up-stairs, and at what is going on there. 

It is a large gloomy room, scantily lighted 
by one brass lamp, which stands in the middle 
of a long table covered with black cloth. On 
the table, in front of the lamp, is a human 
skull, and scattered about are books and papers, 
pistols and stilettoes ; against the wall, at the 
head of the table, hangs the famous black 
standard of the Decisi. Ten armed men sit 
round the table ; and an evil-looking set they 
are. These are the officials of the Decisione 
not the paid plunderers and assassins who swept 
down over the country, but men who took rank 
in Grottaglia as respectable citizens, who lived 
in their own houses, and had their own pro- 
fessions. They had grown rich upon the terror 
they inspired, these officers of Don Giro : it was 
their business to levy contributions, to sign 
decrees of assassination, to fix the amount of 
a subsidy which would avail to spare the life 
of some wealthy citizen. There were even 


cases when some harmless gentleman received 
a decree calling upon him to surrender some 
piece of land or house which had taken the 
fancy of one of these mysterious despots, and 
to refuse meant that homesteads might be 
burned to the ground, cattle stolen, women 
seized, their hair cut off (a common mode of 
punishment), themselves subjected to every 
indignity; there were instances even of women 
being stripped naked and left bound to trees 
by the highway, as a warning to their families 
who had hesitated to comply with the threats 
of these wretches, who now sat round the table 
to sign their infamous decrees. 

The door opened, slowly, silently ; through 
the semi-darkness, forms entered and took up 
their places between the Decisi and the door ; 
bayonets gleamed darkly in their hands as they 
moved. The Decisi turned their heads and 
watched them with a kind of fascinated silence, 
too utterly surprised to rise or speak : they sat 
pale, rigid, as if turned to stone ; their shaking 
hands could not grasp their weapons ; the cold 
drops of perspiration stood on their brows ; 
they made not the slightest attempt at resist- 
ance. In perfect silence they were seized, 
disarmed, bound hand and foot, chained two 
and two ; their papers, their manuscripts, the 
silver trumpet and the black banner, were 


thrown into a chest which stood there, and 
securely locked up therein, to be sent to head- 
quarters ; and before the people of Grottaglia 
were awakened from their slumbers, the troops, 
their captives, the arms and papers, were well 
on their way to Francavilla, where, it is need- 
less to say, they were welcomed warmly by 
General Church. 

At Francavilla the Military Commission was 
sitting, and there was no difficulty in finding 
witnesses to the evil deeds of the prisoners, and 
they were all condemned to death. 

General Church gives an account of their 
execution, which, he says, struck terror into 
the hearts of the disaffected, and was the death- 
blow of Giro's power. He tells how he sat on 
horseback in the market-place of Francavilla, 
crowded with country-folk, and how his eye 
fell upon thousands of figures wrapped in their 
long cloaks, their peaked hats hiding sullen, 
downcast faces ; and how he remembered that 
his soldiers were but 500 in number, among all 
that surging multitude ! But if they were few, 
they were well armed and trusty, his true and 
tried comrades, and they sat their horses sword 
in hand, ready to charge at a moment's notice ; 
and the approaches to the Piazza were com- 
manded by cannon, and by each stood gunners, 
the matches burning in their hands, and the 


people knew their man, and feared him. All 
the more necessary were these precautions, be- 
cause the General had been warned that arms 
were hidden under the long cloaks, and that 
friends of the prisoners had been in and out 
among the people, urging them to a rescue. 

Presently the crowd parted as the condemned 
men were brought forth, chained, and marching 
between files of armed soldiery. A priest 
accompanied them, and as he held aloft the 
crucifix he exhorted them to repentance, and 
promised pardon, even at the last hour, if 
they would confess their crimes and pray for 

All their glory was departed. These men, 
who had held in their hands the power of 
life and death a week ago, before whom their 
fellows had cringed for protection, now, poor 
wretches, shuffled along chained, with blanched 
cheeks, looking round with wild, eager eyes 
among the crowd for a friendly face, and seeing 
none, no hope of rescue, crying out to one and 
another for pardon. " I killed your father 
your brother pardon me ! I caused the death 
of such and such a one pardon, pardon, for 
Jesu's sake ! " and the murmur of forgiveness 
from the awestruck crowd was the only sound 
in reply. 

No, there was no hope for them in this life, 


though they had offered 20,000 ducats to the 
judge of the tribunal, and had thought such 
a bribe would surely have been effectual in 
saving their lives. 

Now they were placed in line, the musketeers 
facing them, and the judge-advocate read in a 
loud clear voice a list of the crimes for which 
they were condemned to die : then followed 
a blast from a trumpet their own trumpet, 
blown when a decree of death was promulgated. 
The people listened in shuddering silence. An- 
other blast, and another ; and then, following 
the third, a volley of musketry, and the ten 
criminals fell dead to the ground. 

There ensued a pause of horrified silence 
as the bloody heads, struck off by the exe- 
cutioner, were held up before the people 
afterwards to be set up in the various places 
where their chief crimes had been committed 
and then the crowd melted quietly, gradually 
away. Not a murmur was heard, though there 
were sullen looks on many faces at first ; and 
those who lingered began to venture to lift 
their hats in greeting to the General as he rode 
slowly round the Piazza, accompanied by his 
staff. Finally, the people gathered in groups 
and looked with interest on the band of vet- 
erans who, at the word of command, paraded 
before their chief, while he addressed them in a 


few ringing words, and then dismissed them to 
their quarters. 

Let us shift the scene to Lecce, and see what 
is going on there some months after the exe- 
cution of the Decisi took place. 

It was summer-time bright, clear, burning- 
hot. The grass was brown, the bushes were 
dusty ; the cicalas chirped day and night ; the 
little streams ran refreshingly through the 
streets of Lecce ; the white houses were blind- 
ing in the sunlight, and the green jalousies 
were fast closed for a great part of the day. 
Don Felice went on his way as usual, with 
a cheerful feeling that whoever else was in 
danger, he at least was safe. Who could 
whisper a word against this virtuous citizen 
and hard - working lawyer ? His name has 
never been mentioned in connection with the 
assassins who had paid the penalty of their 
crimes. Giro Annichiarico, who might have 
told tales, was dead. Nothing had been heard 
of that decree which had been forwarded to 
him months ago therefore, presumably, it 
had been destroyed, without ever reaching the 
hands for which it was not intended ; and 
Don Felice wended his daily way to the court- 
house, pleaded for his clients, bullied his ad- 
versaries, talked of the past crimes of Giro 


with virtuous indignation, uttered the most 
patriotic sentiments, preached law and order 
to his fellows, and came home to his siesta 
and his cigar, to eat his dinner and play with 
his children : and all these civil duties and 
domestic pleasures took an added zest from 
the secret consciousness that he had had a 
lucky escape ! " And oh, what a fool was 
this General Giorgio ! Truly these English 
are fools, and mighty easy to hoodwink ! We 
could tell him, if we would, a thing or two ; 
but how well for us that he is blind ! Why, 
he loves me as as I deserve ! He consults 
me even, and thanks me for my opinion, as 
indeed he should do, for who can advise him 
on matters of law better than I ? " and with 
a chuckle of superior sagacity Don Felice 
would bid farewell to the friend who had 
accompanied him so far along the shady side 
of the street, and take the turning which 
led to his own comfortable house. 

So Don Felice was gratified, but by no 
means surprised, when one day he got a mes- 
sage through a friend from the General, with 
his compliments. " You will see Don Felice ? 
Very good. I should be glad of his valu- 
able opinion a legal matter : who could ad- 
vise me better ? Beg him to favour me with 
his presence early this afternoon." 


"Ah, but certainly with pleasure. As his 
Excellency is pleased to say, who could advise 
him better? My poor endeavours will be al- 
ways at his Excellency's service." And early 
in the afternoon he went off to headquarters, 
scrupulously attired in black, his legs encased 
in black silk stockings, and his knee-buckles 
and shoe-buckles resplendent with brilliants, 
not to mention a handsome diamond ring on 
his finger. 

People greeted the successful advocate as 
he strutted along the street with his head 
well thrown back, but he could only spare 
for his acquaintances a hasty wave of the 
hand, a passing word " Business, my friend ; 
pardon me but his Excellency sends for me 
a little matter my poor advice always 
glad to be of service ; " and thus he reached 
the General's quarters, and, after a courteous 
reception, was soon holding forth on the dif- 
ferences between English law and the Code 

Don Felice got quite excited over English 
laws, English ways, Englishmen. He adored 
them all ! In truth, he was almost an English- 
man himself, in heart ! As for the General, 
he was his servant for life, in gratitude for 
ah 1 he had done for the country. Ah ! the 
wretchedness that had. been ; and now (spread- 


ing forth his hands, and raising his eyes to 
heaven) his Excellency could not imagine- 
no one could who had not groaned for years 
under the yoke of the detestable Giro An- 
nichiarico. A man ! a demon rather ! No 
words could express Don Felice's detestation 
of the fallen chief, or his admiration and 
gratitude for the man who had overthrown 

To all this General Church listened in si- 
lence an ominous silence, if Don Felice had 
only known it his head a little raised, and 
his keen blue eyes looking out from beneath 
their dark brows, somewhere over his com- 
panion's head. Presently he interrupted him 
somewhat abruptly : " Don Felice, pardon me 
shall we go into the next room ? I have 
something to say to you which will be best 
said in private, without fear of interruption. 
So sit down, signore no, not there," as Don 
Felice was about to dispose of himself on a 
comfortable couch " oblige me by taking that 
chair, and giving me your fullest attention." 

He spoke in a stern tone, and Don Felice's 
sallow cheeks flushed a dull red ; then they 
turned ghastly pale, as the General stepped 
to the door, locked it, and put the key in 
his pocket ; then he laid his loaded pistols 
on the mantelpiece, within reach of his hand, 


and turned to the unfortunate advocate, who sat 
trembling, and wiping the drops of perspira- 
tion from his brow, while his brilliant buckles 
flashed with the shaking of his limbs. 

The General watched the frightened wretch, 
and contempt was mingled with his wrath, and 
a certain sense of the comic too, which stood 
Don Felice in good stead. 

" How many children have you ? " he asked. 

" Ten at your Excellency's feet." 

" And what will become of them when you 
are gone ? " 

At this question Don Felice threw himself 
on the ground, and could not articulate a 

"Get up, you dastardly villain!" said the 
General, as he drew out a paper ; "do you 
know this handwriting ? " 

It was the decree, which had been found 
among other papers at Grottaglia, some six 
months before. 

" cielo," groaned the advocate, " I am 

" Let me read it to you," said the General 
" ' Fourth year of the Salentine Republic. 
Fourth of January ' are you listening ? " 

" Pieta, pieta ! " groaned the unlucky man, 
flinging himself anew on the floor, and grov- 
elling at the General's feet. 


" Get up, I say, and listen. Tis your own 
production, your own handwriting." 

" Spare me, spare me, your Excellency, for 
my poor children's sake ! " and Don Felice 
sobbed like a child. " An Englishman is al- 
ways brave, always generous ! " 

The General looked down on the wretch 
grovelling at his feet, and laughed contemp- 
tuously. " To think that such a paltry scoun- 
drel as that should have tried to compass 
the death of any man ! Now, Don Felice, 
listen to me. Take pen and paper and write 
another decree," said the General, grimly. 
" You expressed yourself very well and clear- 
ly in ordering my death, and now you shall 
write your own sentence. Come, get up and 
write it." 

" Oh, your Excellency a glass of water ! " 

" Not a drop till you have finished your 
task. Remember, your life is in my hands." 

At this Don Felice fairly fainted away, 
and the General rang the bell, and called his 
aide -de - camp, Captain Quandel, to fetch a 
glass of brandy - and - water and a cup of 
coffee. The door having been unlocked and 
these refreshments brought, " Lift him up, 
Quandel," said the General. " The rascal 
would have murdered us all, and is half-dead 
with fright at being found out." 


" Upon my word, General, I believe he's 
dead altogether," said the aide-de-camp, as 
he tried to lift up the body, which lay a 
senseless heap apparently, with arms and 
head hanging helplessly down. 

" Dead ? not he ! or at least I know a spell 
which will bring him to life," answered the 
General ; and in a low voice he pronounced the 
words, " I pardon you." 

Immediately the limbs stiffened, the head 
was a little raised, and the eyes opened. 
" Pardon ! did your Excellency say pardon ? " 
gasped the dead man. 

" Yes, but on conditions. Drink that brandy - 
and-water ; and now take the coffee. Now 
listen to me. As far as the attempt on my 
own life is concerned, I pardon you fully, and 
that for two reasons : first, for the sake of your 
children ; and secondly, out of pure contempt 
for a man who, while he is a bully and a 
demagogue in public, can't look the man whom 
he would have murdered in the face ! But you 
must make full confession of your evil deeds- 
reveal the plots give up the papers let me 
have a list of your accomplices give informa- 
tion about the secret societies with which you 
are connected." 

Don Felice was only too glad to do anything, 
to reveal anything, which might save his own 


skin ; and Quandel accompanied him to his 
house to make a thorough search for comprom- 
ising documents. What a difference between 
the going out and the coming home of Don 
Felice ! How meekly he followed at Captain 
Quandel's heels ! how eagerly he pulled out 
drawers, and unlocked chests and cabinets, and 
displayed all the documents contained therein ! 

A few days later General Church sent again 
to request the honour of his presence. Don 
Felice obeyed, dejected and trembling, not 
knowing what fresh agony to expect. What 
was his relief when, after a severe lecture, 
delivered in presence of the discreet and trusty 
Colonel Schmerber, chief of the staff, and Cap- 
tain Quandel, aide-de-camp, the General tore 
up the fatal decree, with all the signatures 
attached thereto. 

Happy Don Felice ! With what expressions 
of eternal gratitude for the future and peni- 
tence' for the past, with what asseverations of 
loyalty to the State, did he take his leave and 
go his way ! And oh, the joy of treading again 
the familiar streets, and finding himself at home 
among his family, with the consciousness that 
that terrible piece of paper was no longer in 
existence ! 






WE have said that Don Giro Annichiarico had 
two meetings with Don Gaetano Vardarelli. 
This was towards the end of his career, when 
he was trying to gather together all the dif- 
ferent secret societies Carbonari, Calderari, 
Filadelfi, &c. under the black banner of the 
Decisi, and to get himself acknowledged as head 
of them all. It was a last desperate move on 
his part, by way of making head against the 
enemy whom he had learnt to fear, the first 
man of whom he had said, " He will be too 
much for me ! " 

The first meeting between the chief of the 
Decisi and the chief of the Vardarelli took 
place in a deserted chapel, where Don Giro, 
in his quality of priest, opened proceedings by 



celebrating Mass ! Of the other meeting we 
must give a fuller account. 

Not far from the river Ofanto (the ancient 
Aufidus) stands the Castello del Monte, built 
by the Emperor Frederick II. in the year 1238. 
From its great octagon tower one may over- 
look the battle-field of Bayard and Gonsalvo 
di Cordova ; one may see Barletta, where the 
challenge was fought in 1503, between twelve 
French champions on the one side and twelve 
Italians on the other ; many other towns, too, 
catch the eye Trani with its flat roofs, and 
Andria, and Bisceglia, Covato among the olives ; 
and beyond the green plain, dotted with the 
white towns and villages, one sees the blue 
waters of the Adriatic. 

When General Church visited Castel del 
Monte, this ancient dwelling of many a gay 
and gallant knight of yore was half in ruins, 
and deserted by all but the brigands, who 
had made it their haunt and stronghold. He 
speaks with enthusiasm of the glorious view, 
and conjures up visions of those who had stood 
on those battlements long, long ago ; especially 
his favourite hero, Manfred, the brave and 
beautiful ; and then of those who at different 
periods had strained their eyes to watch pirate 
fleets turning their prows landward, Normans 
or Saracens, French or Turks or Spaniards, all 


bent on plunder. All have ravaged that fair 
plain in turn, he says, and now (in 1818) the 
traveller, as he traverses it and comes in sight 
of the brigands' stronghold, crosses himself and 
hurries along trembling. 

Within the castle (at that time at least) are 
traces of its former magnificence, in the lofty 
chambers, the inner courtyard where 300 men 
could easily be drawn up in order, the columns 
and mantelpieces of pink marble, the wide por- 
tals and noble halls. Here it was that the 
second meeting between Giro Annichiarico and 
Gaetano Vardarelli took place, in the end of 
the year 1817. 

Two officers returning from a confidential 
mission were overtaken by the darkness on 
their way to Barletta, where at that time 
General Church had his headquarters. One of 
these officers was a captain in the Neapolitan 
army, the other, named Viti, a brigadier of 
gendarmerie, and they had with them a peas- 
ant to act as guide, but who, just then, was as 
much perplexed as they were to find the right 
road. So they dismounted, and began to thread 
their way among scattered trees and brushwood 
and a maze of turfy paths, hoping to strike 
upon the highroad which led to Barletta. The 
guide was sure it must be close at hand, and 
once find that, he assured them that the way 


home would be easy enough ; but meanwhile 
the night was dark, the rain fell fast, and the 
gusty wind would not let them keep their 
cigars alight ! 

Presently they saw a light shining at some 
distance, and the two officers with joyful ex- 
clamations were about to mount and ride in 
that direction ; but they were met by vehement 
protestations from their guide, who declared 
that the light was probably a jack-o'-lantern, 
that the country about there was haunted by 
evil spirits, and sagely reminded them of the 
proverb, Piano, piano, sano, sano ! The dis- 
cussion was closed by the brigadier holding up 
a warning hand ; and, sure enough, voices and 
horse-hoofs were heard at a distance along the 
road of which they were in search. Feeling 
that it was fortunate for them that the night 
was dark, and they off the highroad, they held 
a hurried consultation, the guide, half out of 
his wits with terror, crossing himself and mur- 
muring, " O Madonna, Madonna ! povero 
me ! It will be the Vardarelli ! " 

" Hold your tongue," said Viti, " or we shall 
all be dead men," and rapidly they withdrew 
with their horses deeper among the trees ; but 
curiosity proving too strong for the two soldiers, 
they left their horses under charge of their 
guide, and crept cautiously and noiselessly over 


the ground, all broken with turfy mounds and 
brushwood, until they found a safe lurking- 
place, not far from the shady highroad, but 
divided from it by a thick hedge. By this 
time the ringing of horse-hoofs and voices and 
laughter was distinctly audible, and the riders 
had evidently no thought of unfriendly listeners 
within earshot. They rode slowly, talked loudly ; 
they jested and swore and called to each other; 
two or three women were with them, strapping 
brigandesse, armed likewise, and as ready to 
bandy blows and jests and oaths as the rest of 
the company. 

" Tis the comitiva, without doubt," whispered 
Viti : " that's Gaetano's voice," as a tall cavalier 
stayed his horse just opposite to them, and so 
near the hedge that they could hear every word 
he said. " Bah ! " he was saying, with a laugh, 
" they're afraid of us." " Let them come," said 
another voice ; " we'll soon make fritters of 
the whole lot of them." " Bravo, brother ! " 
answered the first speaker ; " but I wish I 
could get to the bottom of the English Gen- 
eral's schemes all the same. Unluckily all the 
gendarmes are on his side, and those fellows 
can fight if they choose." " Bagattella !" cried 
a third ; " why, they are all Good Cousins " (the 
name given to the Carbonari) ; " they are bound 
to join us when the time comes." " What news 


from Bari, Giovanni ? " asked the chief from some 
one behind, who rode forward and answered, " I 
saw the new general there. He was buying 
horses and organising fresh troops of cavalry." 
" That's bad." " And I think he has some plan 
against us." " Oh, as for that, every new 
general begins that way ! " "I saw him with 
my own eyes," persisted Giovanni, " buying 
horses and marshalling his men. I could not 
hear much, it is true ; the devil himself does 
not know what that man has got in his head ! " 
" We'll cut it off one of these days and find 
out," laughed another ; and then, at the chiefs 
command, the comitiva rode on, with direction 
to go to Castel del Monte. But Don Gaetano 
stayed behind, and we may imagine that the 
pulses of the two officers beat faster than was 
pleasant when they saw his dark figure riding 
close on the other side of the hedge and heard 
him say, " Giovanni, a word with you." Did 
he suspect that enemies might be lurking any- 
where at hand ? Had any involuntary sound 
caught his ever - watchful ear ? No, thank 
heaven ! he had only stopped for a few words 
of private consultation with his favourite 
brother Giovanni, and the two officers from 
their hiding-place had the full benefit of the 

" What do you think of Don Giro, brother ? 


We shall meet him to-night." " He is a stout 
fellow," was the answer, " and has killed a good 
many in his time." " But can we depend upon 
him ? " " Can he depend upon us ? " " What 
do you mean ? " angrily. " When did I, Gaetano 
Vardarelli, ever betray a friend?" "But is 
Don Giro a friend ? " "I suppose so. Are we 
not fighting for the same cause ? " " Per Santo 
Diavolo ! once a traitor, always a traitor, and 
Don Giro has known how to leave a comrade 
entangled in the net, while he slipped through 
the meshes himself. But that is your affair, 
not ours. You order, we obey ; and I believe 
the path you lead us will bring us to the devil 
one of these days." There was a pause, and 
then the same voice went on again, " But, 
signore comandante, remember that you are 
a bigger man than Don Giro. You command 
almost the whole of Apulia, he is only master 
of a province or two : so don't be in a hurry ; 
and if any one is to be you understand 
rather he than you." " Well," answered the 
Vardarelli chief, " we must find out what his 
strength is, and if it is worth our while, we can 
enter into a league with him." " You would 
be wiser to mind your own business and let 
Giro alone," growled the other. " Keep thy 
wisdom to thyself, brother, and help me to 
wrap my cloak round me," said Gaetano ; and 


at that moment another brigand came clatter- 
ing back, to say the comitiva had halted at 
the cross-roads, and wished to know which 
they were to take. Evidently the expedition 
to Castel del Monte was not a popular one, 
and they wished to enter their protest against 
it. Whereupon Don Gaetano swore furiously, 
telling his liegeman to go to the women if he 
was afraid, and not come there preaching, for 
go to Castel del Monte he would, if he went 
alone ; to which Giovanni replied, " As you will, 
brother ; I have said that you are leading us 
to the devil, but no matter," and they all 
three rode away. 

How delightful to the ears of the listeners 
behind the hedge must have been the receding 
sounds of the horse - hoofs ! and soon all was 
silent save the faint patter of the rain among 
the boughs, and they rose, stretched their 
cramped limbs, shook their wet cloaks, and 
went back to the place where the guide and 
the horses were patiently awaiting their 

The two officers held a colloquy apart as to 
the safest way of getting home, and the best 
means of acquiring some information about the 
movements of the brigands. 

Clearly, the light which had so puzzled them 
must have been a signal to inform the Vardar- 


elli that Don Giro had reached Castel del 
Monte ; and how welcome to the General 
would be any news of his doings and inten- 
tions ! Viti suggested that the peasant guide 
might go and spy out the land without much 
risk to himself, and addressing him with a most 
insinuating air, inquired if he had a purse. Oh 
yes, he had one, he said, a large one, but 
with a shake of the head it was empty, and 
he had nothing to put in it ! 

Would he like to fill it ? It must be a large 
purse, a very large one, to hold the ducats 
which would be his if he chose to earn them. 
What would he say to forty ducats? Forty 
real, solid ducats ! And for such a little thing ! 
Just to go to the castle there, use his eyes and 
ears, and report what he heard and saw ! 

At first the peasant shook his head, averring 
that ducats would be of no use to a dead man ; 
but yet how many did the gentleman say ? 
and were they hard money, or paper? 

" How many fingers have you ? " asked Viti. 

The peasant counted them with exceeding 
seriousness : one two three and then with 
an air of conviction, " I believe, signore, that I 
have ten ! " 

" Well, my friend, you may count them again, 
and then again, and then again. All shall be 
yours as many ducats as you can count on 


your fingers four times, if you will do this 
errand, and meet us to-morrow at Barletta." 

" But, signore, you have not told me in what 
way the money will be paid. There have been 
many generals in our country, and they have 
all been uncommonly ready with promises and 
paper, but when it came to cash altra cosa ! " 

" Never fear for that, my good fellow. Our 
General is a man of a different sort ; he doesn't 
pay in words or paper. Forty solid ducats 
down in your hand, and to show that I mean it 
you shall have these ten as a first instalment." 

" I feel my courage beginning to come," said 
the peasant, as he listened to the chink of the 
money which Viti displayed, " but it comes 
slowly, signore, slowly. What would you ? 
for, do you see, my stomach is quite empty ! " 

" Take this then, and perhaps it will come 
quicker," said the captain, tossing him a lump 
of bread and a sausage, and holding out a flask 
of rum ; but the brigadier caught the flask from 
the guide's hand, exclaiming 

" Don't drink it if you value your life ! The 
Vardarelli have keen noses, and they will know 
that a beast of a peasant does not get rummo 
Inglese unless he has come from the General's 
headquarters. You shall have a whole bottle 
all to yourself, if you perform your commission 
to our satisfaction." 


So the matter was settled. Viti offered to 
take charge of the ten ducats, lest the posses- 
sion of so large a sum should cause the guide 
to be either robbed or looked upon with sus- 
picion ; but no, he was too wily for that, and 
preferred to deposit them in a hollow tree 
which he knew of, a little distance off. So 
they parted, and went their different ways, 
Viti taking charge of the guide's horse, and 
charging him to say, if he were questioned, 
that the General had been recalled, and was 
even now on his way to Naples. 

It was close upon noon next day when 
the peasant made his appearance at General 
Church's headquarters at Barletta. He was 
at once brought in, and here is his own ac- 
count of his interview with the brigand chiefs, 
taken from the notes of Colonel Schmerber, 
who, by the General's desire, was present for 
the purpose of taking down the deposition. 

" Eccellenza, I reached the castle all wet, 
for it rained furiously ; and I went straight 
to the great hall that is, they had a guard 
set at the masseria [farmhouse] below the castle, 
and mounted sentinels at the castle gates, and 
sentinels on foot at the door of the tower, all 
armed ; and they arrested me, the guards at 
the masseria first, and sent me on to those at 
the gates, and one of them marched me up to 


the tower, where I found all the Vardarelli 
I counted forty-six of them with my own eyes 
eating and drinking round half-a-dozen great 
fires. The fires looked pleasant enough, but I 
had no mind for the company sitting round 
them ! Not that I had much choice about 
that, for one of the brigands marched me 
straight to the room where were Don Gaetano 
Vardarelli and the ladies and that Other," 
and the peasant crossed himself and dropped 
his voice. " They were sitting round a large 
fire, and on the table were food and wine, and 
plenty of it too ; a feast, Signore Generate, 
such as my eyes don't often behold ! A nice 
ham, and fowls, and a fine piece of cheese, and 
oysters and shell-fish, besides apples and olives 
and chestnuts, and ricotta [curds of sheep's 
milk] and cream, and salami [sausages] belle, 
belle salami, and four bottles of rummo Ing- 
lese that would be one for each person, you 
see and a couple of barrels of wine. Truly, 
I should beg your Excellency's pardon for men- 
tioning the dinner before the guests, but it was 
a dinner to make one's mouth water ! Well 
then, there was Don Gaetano Vardarelli, a 
handsome man, as your Excellency knows as 
well as I, sitting with his carbine across his 
knees, and his pistols in his belt, talking and 
laughing, while he cut up the meat with his 


stiletto, and drinking often out of a silver 
cup. He joked and played with one of the 
women, who answered him back, and drank 
with him merrily. As to the other woman, she 
neither ate nor drank, and must surely have 
been a bad woman, for she never opened her 
lips ; and was that ever known to your Excel- 
lency, that a woman should not talk ! Truly 
there must have been something wrong about 
her ! Who was the fourth guest ? Oh, your 
Excellency, I can hardly speak of him without 
trembling. If he knew I had mentioned him, 
I should be a dead man for it was your 
Excellency knows his name. Yes," and he 
crossed himself again, and the word came out 
in a frightened whisper, " the abate himself 
the outlaw none other. 

" Am I sure of it ? Am I sure that I am 
the son of my mother ? Besides, Don Gaetano 
treated him with great respect. Better than 
he would have treated your Excellency, doubt- 
less. You laugh ! Ah, per Bacco, it is not 
well to laugh when that man is in question." 

"Go on, my friend, and fear nothing," said 
the General, encouragingly. " How was Don 
Giro dressed ? " 

" Like an officer of gendarmerie, Signore 
Generate, as true as I live ! Yes, in blue 
pantaloons and silver lace, and armed with 


pistols and sabre. Heaven knows, I wish I 
had never set eyes on that man, and may the 
Madonna grant that I never set eyes on him 
again ! His face is dreadful to behold, and I 
can't get it out of my head. They say, Eccel- 
lenza, that it resembles the face of the devil 
himself, and that he can change it into three 
colours ! And his eyes are red, as red as blood. 
What did he talk about ? Why, he never 
said a word while I was there, not even to the 
women. One of them, the silent one, who 
seemed to belong to him, peeled an apple now 
and then, and gave it him, and he sucked a 
little of it, and threw the rest into the fire. 
He ate nothing, in spite of all the good things 
on the table, and only drank from his own flask, 
which he carried in his belt. Sometimes he 
took a book from his pocket, and muttered 
something, and sometimes he frowned, and 
sometimes he grinned, and the grin was more 
dreadful than the frown ! I thought he looked 
like the devil sitting in judgment ; while Don 
Gaetano, on the contrary, was gay and noisy, 
and parlando con rispetto was boasting that 
he was the champion of the kingdom of Apulia, 
and telling Don Giro that your Excellency had 
once nearly fallen into his hands, but that you 
had outwitted him and escaped. When he 
said this, the abate frowned and shook his 


head. Then Don Gaetano drank the health of 
Don Giro, and said he must go back to his own 
country to-morrow, but would soon return, and 
hold another meeting at Taranto. Then Don 
Giro said something to him, and he looked at 
me, and asked what I was doing there, and the 
brigand who had brought me in pushed me 
forward, saying, ' Here, signore comandante, is 
a peasant from Spinazzola.' ' Beast of a peas- 
ant,' said he, ' what brought you here ? ' ' Hun- 
ger, signore, and the rain, and the light which 
burns from the castle.' ' What light ? ' said he, 
looking sharply towards the abate. ' Are there 
others here, then ? ' Don Giro did not answer, 
but he shook his head, and that seemed to 
satisfy Don Gaetano, who asked me again 
whence I came, and where I was going. 
' Wherever you like to send me, Don Gaetano 
mio,' said I, wishing to please him, you under- 
stand. ' Then go to Barletta/ he said. ' You 
can tell the people there that you have seen 
me, and that we are on the road to the Abruzzi. 
But not a word of this gentleman, mind, if 
you value your skin ! ' Upon which I crossed 
myself, and bowed, in sign of obedience. ' Now 
tell me,' said Don Gaetano, ' what is the Eng- 
lish General going to do ? ' 'In truth, signore/ 
I answered, ' I heard it said that he was recalled 
to Naples, and that all his fine cavalry are 


going there too.' ' Is that the truth ? ' and he 
looked hard at me. ' It is what I have heard 
said, Don Gaetano mio ; but whether true or 
false, how can I tell ? ' At this the abate too 
turned his eyes upon me, and my very heart 
seemed to grow cold and die within me, and 
when he grinned and shook his head, I gave 
myself up for lost. But, by the blessing of the 
saints, no harm came of it. Don Gaetano re- 
peated his orders to me to go to Barletta, and 
what I was to say there, and then he put his 
fingers in his mouth and whistled. Were his 
brothers there ? No, Eccellenza, not in the 
room ; but I think they must have been with 
the women, for I heard loud laughter and sing- 
ing, and the twanging of a guitar. But as I 
was going to tell you, Don Gaetano whistled, 
and one of his brothers came in answer to his 
call. He was armed too, like the rest, and a 
tall fellow, as tall as Don Gaetano himself, who 
said to him, ' Giovanni, see this beast of a peas- 
ant outside the gates.' Then he asked me if 
I was sure I understood his orders, and I re- 
peated what I was to say as fast as I could, 
upon which he threw me a couple of ducats and 
bade me be off. Glad, in truth, was I to follow 
Don Giovanni out of the room and through the 
hall where the comitiva were feasting, and all 
my hunger was gone before I reached the door. 


Una vera Babilonia, Signore Generate ! and at 
every step I was saluted with such compliments 
as Bestia ! Maladetto ! and many other epi- 
thets which I would not repeat before your 
Excellency. Then Don Giovanni marched me 
across the courtyard, gave me a kick, and said, 
' Off with you, rascal of a peasant ! and if I 
catch you here again, it will be the worse for 
you ! ' I had no mind to stay for any further 
civilities, and took to my heels with a thank- 
ful heart. What then? Why, then I went 
straight to the hollow tree to find my ten 
ducats, and, praise be to the saints, they were 
there safe ! So now behold me, Eccellentissimo 
Signore Generate, having performed your orders, 
and ready to receive as many more ducats as 
it may be your Excellency's pleasure to bestow 
upon me." 

Viti was called in and desired to count out 
the thirty ducats more which made up the sum 
promised, with a couple added. Two bottles 
of rummo Inglese completed his felicity, and the 
peasant retired, kissing the General's hand, and 
bowing to the ground. 







THERE are so many stories of Giro ! It seems 
difficult to keep him out of the page, however 
unwelcome his presence there may be ! He 
seems to have been literally " the head and 
front of the offending," and with his fall, evil- 
doing soon collapsed. The following story is 
a specimen of how readily private revenge 
was worked out through his agency. 

There is a quaint little town, clustering 
round the top of a conical hill, and overlook- 
ing the sunny plains of Apulia, which bears 
the appropriate name of Locorotondo. Here, 
about this date, the two principal inhabitants 
were the Signore Nardelli and the Signore 
de Bernardis. They were rivals, and cordially 


disliked each other, and the reason is not far 
to seek. Not only each one considered himself, 
and wished to be considered by his neighbours, 
as quite the most important citizen of the little 
town, but the two men were so different in 
character, in principles, in the way they were 
regarded by their acquaintances in everything, 
in fact, but worldly possessions that they could 
not possibly have been friends ! Signore Nar- 
delli was justice of the peace for the district, a 
wealthy, kindly, honourable gentleman, some- 
what hasty in temper perhaps, and a little 
autocratic, but much beloved and respected 
by all his neighbours, gentle and simple, rich 
and poor. Signore de Bernardis, on the con- 
trary, bore an evil name among the little 
community, as a man dark and revengeful, 
avaricious in money matters, and, moreover, 
known to be closely connected with the secret 
societies, especially the worst of all, the Decisi. 
It was a strange and terrible state of things 
in Apulia at that time, as has been said before. 
You had an enemy. Well, you had but to 
make your bargain with the robber priest, the 
terrible chief of the Decisi, so much for him- 
self, so much for the assassin, and everything 
was speedily arranged, to your perfect satisfac- 
tion. Your enemy might be guiltless, beloved, 
loyal the support of his home, the friend of 


his fellow-citizens. No matter, since he had 
offended you, and you wanted him punished 
and could afford to pay ! Without warning, as 
he crossed his own threshold, or turned the 
familiar street - corner, or sauntered leisurely 
through his fields, or stopped for a few minutes' 
friendly chat with an acquaintance, the blow 
was struck : a shot from behind yonder wall, 
which he had passed, unthinking, scores of 
times ; a swift, sudden blow from a stiletto, 
struck by one who seemed only a chance 
loiterer. The body was found with a thrust 
in the side, a musket-ball through the heart, 
and was carried home and wept over in secret 
by those who loved him ; but no one dared ask 
aloud, " Who has done this thing ? " for to be 
suspected of enmity to the secret societies was 
certain death. 

Was not the story well known, and many 
stories besides, of the fate of Don Blasi, a man 
of high character and fearless courage ? He 
had dared to express in public his disapproba- 
tion of the terrorism in which his country was 
held, and what happened ? 

One summer evening he was riding home 
from his country house to the little town 
where he usually dwelt, with his young son 
and daughter : a sweet summer evening, 
following a day of country delights in their 


much -loved villeggiatura. Slowly they rode, 
with happy jests and gay talk, enjoying the 
perfumed air, the nightingale's song, the dry 
chirp of the cicala, all the scents and sounds, 
as they had so often done before, without a 
thought of harm or evil. The children rode 
first they were but fourteen and sixteen 
and the father followed. Suddenly a hand 
was laid upon his bridle ; a man in the uniform 
of a gendarme bade him stop. Don Blasi re- 
cognised the voice. 

" Don Giro ! " 

" Yes, I am Don Giro," was the stern reply. 
There was a click, a flash, a report, and Don 
Blasi fell from his horse to the ground without 
a word, shot to the heart. " So perish all 
the enemies of Giro Annichiarico," said the 

Half-a-dozen ruffians rushed from the bushes 
and seized the fainting, horror-stricken girl 
and boy, but Giro spared their lives, and left 
them, after warning the lad that the slightest 
attempt to avenge his father's death would 
prove his own doom. 

The poor children crouched there in the 
darkness, numb with terror, and were found 
a few hours later by some peasants, sitting by 
their father's corpse. The girl had quite lost 
her wits, and never recovered, but died within 


the year. The lad dared take no steps to 
bring the murderer to justice till, years after, 
General Church came into command of the 
province. Then he went straight to his head- 
quarters and volunteered to join the force 
which was engaged in hunting down the 
brigands. But of this hereafter ; and now to 
return to our story. 

De Bernardis, as has been said, bore an 
evil name. A bad man they called him, in 
whispers, in the little town of Locorotondo, 
unscrupulous, revengeful, avaricious a man 
equally feared and detested. And Nardelli 
had been cautioned to look to his safety, and 
told that his life was not secure from such 
a man. But he laughed at warnings, secure, 
he said, in his own good conscience and the 
esteem of his neighbours, until one evening, 
as he came home from a friendly visit, a ball 
whizzed past him. He was close by his own 
house, and rushed in, and a bullet struck the 
door which he slammed behind him, and buried 
itself in the panels. 

Of course this incident caused a commotion, 
and everybody said that De Bernardis was at 
the bottom of the affair ; but they said it in 
hushed voices, and there was no proof, and 
no one was likely to try and find one. 

Long afterwards, the whole story came out, 


and it was known that, having failed in this 
first attempt, De Bernardis had sent to Don 
Giro Annichiarico and bargained with him 
for Nardelli's murder. Then, one dark night, 
he brought the assassin into the town behind 
him on his horse. De Bernardis went to 
his house, and soon after, on pretence of 
business, left the town and went on a 

The murderer lurked about Locorotondo, 
but a fortnight passed and Nardelli had never 
stirred outside his own house, alarmed at the 
attempt on his life, and moved by the tears 
and entreaties of his beautiful wife, whom he 
dearly loved, to prudence. 

But there came a day of heavenly beauty 
and freshness, and Nardelli, as he looked out 
of his windows and up into the unfathomable 
blue of the Italian sky, felt that he could 
bear the imprisonment no longer. Besides, 
he had heard that his enemy was absent, 
and that fact seemed of itself a promise of 

" My love," said he to the fair woman who 
stood beside him, " this life is unbearable ! 
I have been shut up like a bird in a cage 
long enough. Let us go out and breathe 
the air." 

"Is it wise ? Is it safe ? " she answered, 


anxiously. " caro mio, I fear even my 
own shadow ! I would rather never quit 
this house again than that your life should 
be endangered." 

" Nay," he said, " look out for yourself. 
Not a dog is stirring in the street below. 
Besides, our enemy is absent. Trust me, 
he has given up the game. Let us go to 
our garden and see what this fortnight has 
done for our roses and carnations." 

" But they say that bad man has sworn 
to have your life, though you have never 
wronged him by so much as a soldo" cried 
the wife. 

He laughed and laid a caressing hand on 
her dark hair. " Threatened men live long, 
they say, and I don't fancy De Bernardis 
will try that trick twice. He knows that 
suspicion has fallen upon him, for, thank 
God, I have no other foe ! Besides, he is 
a coward who dares not strike, and a miser 
who loves not to pay, even for my blood ! 
Come then, our garden is but just outside 
the town, and I will go no farther, nor linger 
on the way." 

" True, it is but a little way," she hesitated ; 
" but the sight of a stranger makes me die of 
fear ! " 

" Your nerves are shaken, caret, mia," he said, 


soothingly, " and no wonder. But I promise we 
will go no farther than our garden. Come ! " 
And she put her black veil over her head and 
they went out together : just along the nar- 
row, crooked, picturesque little streets, and out 
into the country beyond, where close to the 
walls of the old town the gardens of the good 
citizens lay, walled round for the most part ; 
and with straight walks and formal borders, 
well stocked with fruits and flowers, and each 
with its pergola covered with trailing vines, 
lovely now with their wealth of greenery, to 
be lovelier still when the later season should 
bring the rich harvest of purple grapes. The 
husband and wife sauntered along, stopping 
here and there to observe the progress of 
some favourite shrub or flower, enjoying the 
sense of freedom after a fifteen days' captivity, 
and feeling safe within the high garden walls. 

Presently they saw a man, who held papers 
in his hand, approach the garden gate and 
open it. All sense of fear had now been 
dissipated, blown away by the sweet evening 
air, and the idea that they had been watched 
and followed never entered their heads. 

" Some poor fellow who has a petition to 
present," murmured the justice of the peace 
to his wife, as he stepped forward. The words 
were few that followed. 


" Are you the justice of the peace for Loco- 
rotondo ? " 


" Then die (mori dunque) ! " 

There was the flash of a stiletto, and Signore 
Nardelli fell to the ground, just muttered, "JE 

finito povera mia moglie vendetta " and 


The poor wife stood for a moment as if 
turned to stone, and then shriek after shriek 
rang through the summer air, and the neigh- 
bours rushed in, crowding into the open gate, 
so that the assassin, who had turned to fly, 
was speedily surrounded and struck down with 
sticks and stones, till he lay bleeding on the 
ground beside his victim. He lived long enough 
to confess that he had been sent by Don Giro, 
the mysterious and dreaded chief of the Decisi, 
to do the deed, and that he had received 
seventy ducats to slay a man who not only 
had never done him any injury, but was abso- 
lutely unknown to him, even by sight. 

Years passed away. Giro Annichiarico and 
his band of ruffians had met their deserts 
under the stern justice of General Church's 
rule, and the provinces of Apulia, relieved 
from terrorism, breathed a new atmosphere of 
peacefulness and quietude. It was like the 


burst of sunshine which sometimes follows a 
thunderstorm, when the wet flowers lift up 
their heads, and the birds sing like escaped 
prisoners. People felt that they could talk 
freely, without anxious glances as to who was 
within earshot, and loiter and laugh along the 
road, with no thought of a possible danger 
behind every wall. The plains and forests 
were free from marauders, the white-walled 
cities held no lurking assassins within their 
picturesque streets ; and all this was the doing 
of the English officer, whom they feared for 
his quick, uncompromising temper and iron 
determination, yet trusted for his absolute 
justice and kindly heart. 

One evening he was enjoying a well-earned 
rest after the multifarious labours of the 
day in his headquarters at Leece. The long 
shadows lay on the plain that stretches be- 
tween Lecce and Otranto, with here and 
there a golden gleam, where the setting 
sun caught the tops of the great olives and 
carob - trees ; the cloudless horizon was one 
mist of rose and gold, melting upwards into 
the blue of the Italian sky. The General 
sat on his terrace, a cigar between his lips, 
and his eyes such keen dark -blue eyes ! 
gazing with quiet appreciation over the fair 
scene before him, with a contented sense that 


he had been instrumental in rendering it so 
peaceful and so fair. 

There was a step on the terrace, and his 
aide-de-camp came out and informed his Ex- 
cellency that a lady desired to see him. His 
Excellency, stern disciplinarian though he was, 
was always chivalrously courteous and gentle 
to women or little children, and he straightway 
threw aside the half-smoked cigar, and rising 
from his seat, went into the house to receive 
his visitor. A tall lady, closely veiled and in 
deep mourning, acknowledged his salutation 
by a low courtesy, with such an air of grave 
dignity that it was clear she was a person 
accustomed to the manners of society. " Par- 
don me, Eccdlenza" she said. " I have dared 
to intrude upon you at this hour in the name 
of Justice." 

General Church was a perfect Italian scholar. 
In fact, he was as familiar with French and 
Italian as with his native tongue. He an- 
swered readily, " Signora, I have not the hon- 
our of knowing to whom I am speaking, but 
be assured that what you ask in the name 
of Justice it will be my duty to grant. Speak 
without fear ; my time is yours." 

The lady threw back her veil and showed a 
face pale indeed, and worn by years of suffer- 
ing and sorrow, yet still bearing traces of the 


beauty for which she had once been remark- 
able the dark, lustrous, passionate beauty of 
the South. 

"You see before you, Eccellenza" she said, 
" the widow of the unfortunate Signore Nar- 
delli." Then she seated herself and began to 
relate all her sad story. She told it simply, 
fully, graphically, from beginning to end, and 

in every detail with the official report, which 
he had already carefully studied. She told 
how, as soon as she had recovered from the 
appalling shock of her husband's murder, she 
had tried to begin a legal process against those 
who were suspected of the crime ; how it was 
said that De Bernardis, though the chief author, 
was not the only person implicated ; nay, it 
was said that among those who were foremost 
in assailing the hired assassin, some there were 
whose interest it was that he should die with- 
out making fuller confession ; how her attempt 
had failed because no one dared take up so 
perilous a cause, and at last she had been 
forced to give it up ; finally how, when she 
heard that the Englishman had taken the 
command of Apulia, her hopes had revived, 
and she had followed his course with anxious 
prayers for his success, and that when the 
news was brought to her that the head of 


Giro Annichiarico was placed over the gate of 
Grottaglia, she had resolved to leave her soli- 
tude and come to claim punishment against 
her husband's murderers, and especially against 
Signore de Bernardis. 

There was really no difficulty in finding out 
who were the authors of the attack on Signore 
Nardelli. They were perfectly well known, 
and now that the reign of terror was over, 
there were plenty of people ready to point 
them out, and before long two were taken, 
convicted, and executed. But where was the 
chief criminal ? No sooner had any stir begun 
to be made than De Bernardis disappeared. 

He disappeared as completely as if he had 
never existed, leaving no trace behind. In- 
quiries and searchings, offers of money, were 
alike useless. Some said he had altogether 
left the country perhaps gone to Corfu ; some, 
that so rich a man had great power in his 
hands ! and that the judges of the Criminal 
Tribunal were not inaccessible to bribes, and 
that De Bernardis had friends among the local 
magistrates. Besides, the shadow of the terror 
which the secret societies had inspired did not 
quickly disperse, and De Bernardis made the 
most of their mysterious power while it lasted. 

Powerful though he was, however, General 
Church's vigorous measures struck him with 


astonishment and alarm. He could not doubt 
that the spell was broken, and soon after the 
search for brigands began he went away and 
hid himself: he fancied that if he kept quiet 
awhile the hot pursuit would abate, and then 
he could come back and live quietly at home. 
" Bah ! " said he, " we have seen all this before. 
I have no mind to be hanged, and this con- 
founded Englishman is capable of anything ! 
But it will pass, it will pass ! Let him catch 
Giro and his band, and go home with his glory ; 
and then it is only to keep quiet for a while, 
and let the tempest blow over, and sneak back 
to my hole ! " 

So when things grew quieter, he did creep 
back literally to his " hole," a place of conceal- 
ment where he thought he would surely be 
safe for as long as any danger seemed to 

Underneath the floor of his house was a 
secret chamber, the existence of which was 
known only to De Bernardis himself and one 
or two chosen friends. It was beneath a bed- 
room, and reached from thence by a small trap- 
door and a ladder. The trap-door was easily 
concealed by pushing an enormous carved 
wooden four-post bed against it ; and as for 
light, he bribed two masons, Carbonari like 
himself, with six hundred ducats and the 


promise of much more, to construct a little 
hidden window and to keep his secret. There 
had been once an outer door, but he had had 
it bricked up, and all traces of the new work 
carefully concealed by these same two masons. 
Into this subterranean chamber, then, his wife 
secretly conveyed food and wine, bedding and 
furniture, and there De Bernardis took up his 
abode, only quitting it when he was sure his 
wife would be alone, and was so entirely lost 
to view that neither his friends nor his servants 
had the slightest idea that he had returned. 
Only his wife and the two masons were in the 
secret, and at last it became a settled convic- 
tion in men's minds that he had escaped to 

Thus a year passed, and there was no trace 
of the criminal. The General had hunted for 
him far and near, up and down the country, 
sometimes starting off on what seemed a pro- 
mising track, and sorely vexed when it too 
proved fruitless. Several times he and his 
troops had even entered the house and ques- 
tioned the servants, but all to no purpose. 
The search might have been discontinued but 
for the imprudence of the poor wife, who on 
one occasion offered money to the commander 
of a detachment of troops if he would give up 
searching and go away. But bribes were of no 


avail when offered to the Englishman's chosen 
troops, and the money was indignantly refused 
and the matter reported to General Church. 
" Ha ! " quoth he, " to give up searching, is 
it ? Then our friend is not gone to Corfu ! " 
And thenceforth a watchful eye was kept 
upon that neighbourhood; and yet months 
flew by, and the end seemed as far off as 

It has been said that De Bernardis, among 
his other bad qualities, was avaricious, and 
this it was which at last caused his destruc- 
tion. Month has followed month, and he was 
still safe. He had sat snug in his hiding- 
place and chuckled as he heard the voices of 
the pursuers, and thought how small a space 
divided them from him, and how little they 
guessed it ! 

His confidence returned as the pursuit 
abated, and when he heard that the perma- 
nent Military Commission was dissolved and 
the province was declared quiet again, he 
began to repent of the high price he had 
paid to the two masons for his safety. That 
miserable little window ! To think that it 
had cost him six hundred ducats ! Why, one 
hundred would have been a monstrous price, 
and the masons would have been lucky to get 



half the amount. One hundred ducats ! It 
was a fortune. For two working men to have 
such a sum to divide between them, holy saints, 
it ought to surpass their wildest dreams ! 

And, positively, he was fool enough to desire 
his wife to go to the masons and tell them that 
five hundred of the six hundred ducats were 
only lent, not given, and that it was now time 
they were repaid. He even fixed a certain 
date when the repayment was to be made, 
imagining probably that the General's depart- 
ure was imminent, and that he, De Bernardis, 
would soon be in a position to show himself, 
and to enforce his will upon his inferiors, just 
as he had been accustomed to do in the bad 
old times which were past. 

At first the two masons took the message 
as a jest, and laughed heartily at the gentle- 
man's wit ; but when they found he was in 
earnest, their tone changed. De Bernardis 
had not realised how thoroughly the power 
of the secret societies was broken, or that the 
people, having once tasted of freedom, had 
become almost like different creatures. The 
two masons flatly refused payment, and when 
the message was repeated, " Va bene" said 
they, "we will see whose business it is to 

They were careful not to let slip any word 


which might rouse suspicion in the mind of 
De Bernardis. They answered his message 
humbly and civilly enough, promised payment 
by instalments, without any apparent reluc- 
tance, and arranged with the Signora de Ber- 
nardis as to the day and hour when they 
should come to her house to bring the first 
sum and receive a receipt. She promised 
that the receipt should be ready when they 
called, and so they departed. Then the two 
masons took their way to the neighbouring 
town of Fasano, where a detachment of fusi- 
liers was quartered with the express purpose 
of looking after De Bernardis, and asked to 
see the brigadier in command. Where the 
General was at this moment does not appear, 
probably at his headquarters at Lecce, but he 
had left an officer who could be trusted to 
carry out this little affair, and proud and 
delighted he was to have the chance of doing 
so ! The two masons laid their grievance 
before the brigadier, and offered to conduct 
him and his men in safety to the place where 
the enemy was to be found that very night, 
and the offer was most eagerly accepted. 

The night was cold and dark when they 
set out the brigadier, dressed like a peasant, 
but with arms hidden under his blouse, the 
fusiliers, and the two masons as guides. They 


reached Locorotondo at about midnight, the 
soldiers silently taking up their stations round 
the house, except four, who followed their 
disguised officer and the guides at a distance 
with stealthy steps, until they had taken a 
safe and secret position within easy call, under 
the shadow of the house. 

A gentle tap at the door brought the signora 
to a little window overhead, asking anxiously, 
" Who is there ? " 

" Friends you know us, signora. Open 
the door." 

Now it happened that, as all the servants 
were gone to bed, Signore de Bernardis had 
ventured out of his hiding - place, and was 
sitting with his wife up-stairs. 

From this room a flight of wide stone steps 
led to a large hall on the first floor, and from 
this hall a narrow, winding staircase gave 
access to the ground-floor. Here then, in the 
little up - stairs chamber, the signora stood, 
and, prompted by her husband, parleyed with 
her visitors at the door below a great, heavy 
door, opening from the courtyard. 

" Di grazia, signora, let us in. The night 
is cold, and it will cause suspicion if any one 
should chance to see us at your door." 

" But the money have you brought the 
money ? " 


" Yes, yes, certainly we have brought the 

"But how much?" 

"Well, signora, Giovanni has brought two 
hundred ducats ; but I could only scrape to- 
gether one hundred and fifty, and here they 
are see, good ducats, good money, and in 
full number ! " 

" It is too little," said the signora, at her 
husband's prompting. 

" Very well, signora. If you won't take 
the money, you can leave it alone. We are 
quite willing to keep it. Good night, signora 

11 Piano, piano, signori miei; how much 
money did you say ? " 

" Three hundred and fifty ducats, signora, 
well counted. Will you take them or will 
you not ? " 

"It is too little, too little ; but, pazienza ! 
Let Giovanni bring the money to the door, 
and I will come down and take it." 

There was some delay before the signora 
appeared in the doorway, opening it cautiously 
half-way, drawing back the heavy bolts, turn- 
ing the great iron key with all precaution, 
lest the sleeping domestics should be aroused. 
Meanwhile, De Bernardis had crept down- 
stairs to his hiding-place, and lay there, as 


he thought, safely ensconced, till the bar- 
gaining was over. Truly things had gone 
well with him ! Who would have thought 
that the masons would have acceded to his 
demand so readily, and have brought so large 
a sum, even before the date agreed upon ? 
Well, his imprisonment would soon be over, 
the country would soon be rid of this pesti- 
lent Englishman, who knew so little what was 
due to a gentleman, and then things would 
arrange themselves in their proper places. 

So the door was opened ; but before it 
could be closed again the two masons and 
their peasant friend had pushed their way 
inside, muttering something about the cold, 
and answering the signora's alarmed inquiry 
with the information that the third person 
was a friend of theirs, a good fellow, who 
had joined them on the way, and who also 
had a little business with the padrone. 

" Come, come this is folly ! " said the sig- 
nora. "What do you mean by such talk as 

She was evidently alarmed. Her cheeks 
grew pale and her limbs trembled, though 
she tried to speak authoritatively, poor soul ! 
" Give me the money, and go your ways, I 

" I will carry it up-stairs for you, signora 


padrona" replied Giovanni, who took the 
leading part. " Don't trouble yourself about 
fastening the door leave that to my com- 
rade and let us settle matters and get the 

So they went softly up the wide staircase 
to the large hall, the signora first, Giovanni 
and the disguised brigadier following ; and as 
soon as they were out of sight Piero, the 
second mason, admitted the four armed fusi- 
liers, and they also silently crept up the 
stairs and took up their positions just out- 
side the door which their friends had closed 
behind them, and waited there in the dark- 
ness till they were wanted. The signora 
seated herself in a great carved wooden chair, 
putting down the flickering oil - lamp, which 
her trembling hands could hardly hold, and 
tried to speak in a cheerful, assured tone, 
while the chill and gloom seemed to intensify 
and creep closer round the one spot of flicker- 
ing light in the great, unwarmed, gloomy, 
ghostly apartment. 

" Well, now," she said, " let us finish the 
matter. It is late and cold. Where is the 
money ? Give it me quick, and go." 

"Piano, piano, signora padrona!" Gio- 
vanni spoke civilly, yet there was something 
of menace in his voice. " I must have a 


receipt, if you please. Yes, we must have 
a receipt from the padrone." 

" From the padrone ? " faltered the lady. 
" Oh, you talk folly ! Leave the money with 
me, and go about your business. Madonna 
mia, will you not go ? " 

" Per Bacco no ! " and the man stamped 
on the ground thrice, and at the signal the 
door of the hall opened, and out of the dark- 
ness stepped the four armed men, and stood 
there silent, ghostlike, yet so terribly real. 
The poor signora cried out, " All is lost ; we 
are betrayed ! " and fainted in her chair. 
Poor soul ! her life had been a hard one, yet 
he was her husband, and perhaps, for old 
sake's sake, she loved him still. Piero and 
one of the soldiers were left as guards and 
sentinels, and the rest of the party, headed 
by Giovanni, proceeded on their search. 

Giovanni knew the way, and they had pro- 
vided themselves with lights. Through a little 
low door, down a narrow, winding staircase, to 
a large bedroom on the ground-floor, furnished 
but unoccupied, intended apparently as a guest- 
chamber. There seemed no place there which 
might serve for a lurking-place. A large dark 
room, with massive oak furniture, but no 
corners, no cupboards, no extra doors. Gio- 
vanni surveyed the room, and then, " Help me 


to move that box," he said, " that arm-chair 
so ; " and he took the light and began a close 
inspection of the oak-panelled walls, pressing 
his finger against first one and then another, 
till he reached the side of the great bedstead. 
Then there was an exclamation, and he turned 
and beckoned to the brigadier. His finger had 
found the secret spring, and a panel flew back, 
disclosing an aperture some three feet square, 
from which a ladder gave access to the hiding- 
place below, where lurked De Bernardis. He, 
hearing the trap-door open, naturally imagined 
that his wife had come to tell him that the 
affair was concluded, and cried out at once, 
" What is it ? " expecting an answer in her 
voice about the money. But it was a man's 
voice that answered 

" We are here, signore, with the money." 
" What do you want of me ? Why are you 
here ? " he questioned. 

" The receipt, signore. We want the receipt." 
" Then you must get it from the signora." 
"Are we to understand that you refuse to 
receive the money, signore ? " and then there 
came a burst of wild, malicious laughter, which 
echoed strangely, fiendishly through the dark- 
ness. " Povero signore ! povero signore ! He 
refuses the money ! Perhaps he knows he will 
never want money again ; " and then, changing 


their tone, " Oh, thou wretch, come out of 
your hiding-place, or we will blow out your 
brains 1 " 

Here, however, the brigadier interfered, put- 
ting the mason aside, and taking up the word 
in an authoritative tone. 

" Signore de Bernardis, in the name of the 
law, and by virtue of this mandate which I 
hold in my hand, I command you to surrender 
yourself. We cannot wait. Make haste ! 
Come up this ladder, and save us the trouble 
of coming down to fetch you. You cannot 
escape, and resistance is of no avail ; I am here 
at the head of a company of armed men." 

De Bernardis, as has been said before, was a 
coward at heart, and as soon as he understood 
the state of things his courage failed utterly. 
Repeated calls and exhortations being of no 
avail, the brigadier and a couple of his men 
climbed down the ladder, and found the 
wretched man crouching in a heap on the 
floor, half senseless with terror. They bound 
the abject creature, and contrived to convey 
him up the ladder, and then to march him off 
to Lecce, arriving triumphant at daybreak at 
General Church's headquarters. 

Before going, the brigadier called up the 
sleeping servants, and left the poor signora in 
their care. 


As to the people of Locorotondo, they heart- 
ily rejoiced at the capture, for they felt that 
the peace of their pleasant little town was 
now thoroughly established, and there was no 
one to mourn when De Bernardis suffered the 
fate which he had so justly deserved. 

It is tempting to relate another short story 
which curiously illustrates the mixture of super- 
stition and crime which went together in the 
lives of these people, who would commit a 
murder for hire on one day, and then join in 
devotional exercises the next. Nay, there were 
priests among the Carbonari and Decisi who 
exercised the functions of a priest in the midst 
of their career of murder and plunder. There 
was a certain arch - priest of Surbo, we are 
told, who celebrated Mass one Christmas eve 
armed from head to foot. 

There was a certain ruffian, the captain of a 
band of Decisi of all the secret societies they 
were the most cruel and bloodthirsty. This 
ruffian went by the nickname of Picco Pane, 
and among a long list of his enormities we hear 
of his absolutely having roasted to death a 
gentle, pious old Canonico Chiffi, because the 
poor old man did not prove to be so rich as 
the robbers had supposed him to be. Picco 
Pane went regularly to confession and Mass, 


choosing for his devotional exercises some little 
church, far away from the haunts of men, 
perched up among the rocks, and only fre- 
quented by the poor shepherds, or by such as 
himself. The times and churches he chose 
were only known to his intimate friends, and 
the hour was always of the earliest. 

When the poor old Canonico Chiffi was dead, 
and his money and vestments carried away, 
Picco Pane, for convenience' sake, left these 
last concealed in the cottage of a relation, some 
miles distant from the town where the murder 
w r as committed, and then rode off, meaning on 
some future day to come and claim his own. 
But, unluckily for him, General Church had 
sent a detachment of gendarmes to search the 
villages around and try whether any trace could 
be found of this notorious ruffian ; and, enter- 
ing into one cottage, their eyes fell upon a 
vestment which one of them recognised as 
having belonged to the canon. 

The people of the house were forthwith 
arrested for having the articles in their pos- 
session, and, in great fear of the consequences 
to themselves if they were brought to trial, 
they eagerly offered to give any information as 
to the best means of getting possession of their 
cousin, Picco Pane. 

" Where was he ? " Well, at that precise 


moment there was no saying ; but it was easy 
enough to tell where he would be next Sunday. 
Oh yes, he would certainly go to the earliest 
Mass ! That was his habit, and he would 
certainly go to a certain little church in the 
mountains alone, for he would have no thought 
of danger. "Armed?" But certainly, he 
never went unarmed ; and besides, for greater 
safety, he always wore many relics of the 
blessed saints on his breast. Oh, he would 
surely be there ! 

In the grey of the morning, then, Picco Pane, 
armed, and with his breast covered with relics, 
entered the little church. He cast quick 
glances on this side and on that as he stepped 
along the steep, narrow, stony path. If he 
had known it, every boulder or bush held an 
armed avenger ; but he did not know it, and 
he went in, made his confession, heard his Mass 
strange and shocking though it sounds, it 
is true and came gaily forth, absolved and 
blessed ! There, on each side of the church 
porch, stood a silent file of armed men. He 
started back, and would have turned to fly, but 
it was too late. Strong hands seized him, and 
in a few minutes he was securely bound and 
carried off, to be triumphantly led to the Gen- 
eral's headquarters. 







IT may be amusing to give the description of a 
day's ride one among many taken by Gen- 
eral Church and his men among the masserie, 
which were always favourite haunts of the 
brigands, who knew that the massaro was 
generally, either from fear or favour, a friend 
to be relied on. 

The scene opens at Lecce, the General's 
headquarters, one evening in January 1818. 

" Your Excellency," said Captain Quandel, 
the General's aide-de-camp, " Major Fusco has 
just arrived from Francavilla. May he come 

"Certainly. Ah, Fusco, buona sera! What 
do they think about Ciro at Francavilla ? " 


" All, all, absolutely all, are for him, your 
Excellency. They insult us in the streets as 
if we were dogs." 

" We must pay our friends a visit forthwith, 
Fusco. And from Ostuni ? " 

" I have brought you a letter, sir, from Don 
Bartolomeo Lopez. He has just come to his 
house in Ostuni, after standing a siege in his 
tower a little way from that town." 

" Bravo, Don Bartolomeo ! " and the General 
read the letter. 

(Don Bartolomeo Lopez, be it observed, had 
been intended for the Church, and had taken 
minor orders, but had got dispensation, and 
married late in life, on his elder brother dying 

"As you know, Signore Generale, I was once 
on the road to become a cardinal, but never on 
the road to become a general. I hope, there- 
fore, that you won't take it amiss, that after 
having defended my castle pulled up the 
drawbridge, fired out of the windows till the 
rascals raised the blockade and rode off I and 
my family retreated in good order, and took up 
our quarters in Ostuni, where, with all respect 
to you, we mean to stay, and where the best 
apartments are kept in readiness for your Ex- 
cellency's reception." 

" Very good," said the General, as he folded 


up the letter with a smile. " And now, Fusco, 
eat and drink, sleep or dance ; only be ready 
at two o'clock after midnight to accompany 

It was a gay season in Lecce ; people crowded 
to the capital for protection in those disturbed 
times ; and besides, the worthy inhabitants 
were hospitably eager to welcome their guests. 
That night there was a magnificent banquet, 
ending with a masked ball, in honour of the 
English General, attended by all the rank and 
fashion of Lecce. 

The General waxes poetical in talking of 
the fair ladies who gathered there. " The sex 
whose presence gives a charm to life." " Fair 
daughters of Terra di Otranto 1 " he goes on, 
"bright, gay, artless, confiding, all heart, all 
animation, quick as lightning in impulse, but 
not changeable in love ! " And he owns that 
it was with great unwillingness that he obeyed 
Colonel Schmerber's whispered summons, " Tout 
est prdt, mon General; the horses are ready at 
the Rugia Gate." 

At the same moment the charming Duchess 
of San Cesario came up to him to take leave, so 
the General seized the opportunity of attend- 
ing her to her carriage, and left the ball-room 
followed by his aides-de-camp and officers 
went out regretfully from the brightly lighted 


rooms, the fair faces, and flattering welcomes, 
into a dark and drizzly January night ; and 
he says it was some time before talking and 
laughter broke the silence of the ride, so full 
were their minds of the kindness and hospital- 
ity they had been enjoying at Lecce. 

However, the rain stopped at daybreak, the 
grey clouds parted, reddened ; streaks of gold 
lay along the horizon, blue patches of sky 
showed through the rifts of cloud ; the rain- 
drops quivered and glittered like diamonds, 
hanging in rows on the leafless branches. 
When they halted at I Castelli, says the 
General, " it was like a fairy scene ; and when 
the splendid band of the 1st Foreign Regiment 
struck up, and the strains echoed from rocks 
and trees and rivulets, how calm, how delicious 
it was ! What dreams of glory and felicity, 
never to be realised, presented themselves to 
the imagination ! " The men dismounted and 
shook their dripping cloaks and hats, and there 
was much laughter at the drowned - rat ap- 
pearance they presented. Then there was a 
passing about of wine-flasks, and bread and 
cheese and sausages, by way of an early break- 
fast, as they sat among the crags on the hillside, 
and the officers took up their place upon the 
ruinous battlements of the now deserted castle, 
until the advance was sounded ; the light- 



armed cacciatori bounded like chamois from 
rock to rock, the sabres of the cavalry flashed 
as they were drawn and carefully wiped before 
being returned to the scabbards, the drums of 
the infantry echoed from the rocks, making 
them sound double their real number, and the 
troops began to file down the winding, stony 
paths, which led to the green and fertile plain. 

Suddenly a long shrill whistle was heard, 
and Colonel Schmerber was still exclaiming, 
" That's Don Giro's whistle, we had better 
clear out," when a discharge of muskets came 
rattling down among the walls and rocks 
where they stood. 

" If they can't shoot better than that, we 
may as well stay where we are," remarked 
the General. 

" They are pretty close, though," said a 
young officer. " Look up, sir ; there are half- 
a-dozen rascals just over our heads." 

"SagatteUa!" laughed Colonel Bentz; "I 
took them for crows. If you stand there, 
General, I wager they'll hit you." 

"I wager they won't!" he replied, while 
Schmerber clapped his hands and cried 

"Bravo ! Look, General, the rear-guard has 
got on the rocks higher up." 

" Splendid ! The sergeant commanding that 
battalion shall have one hundred florins. You 


have lost your wager, Bentz ! " cried the 

A peal of laughter was heard from the 

" Softly, softly, gentlemen. Let them laugh 
that win," said Fusco, raising his carbine ; but 
General Church put it aside with his cane. 

"No, no, Fusco; leave the rear -guard to 
settle the matter." 

And as he spoke, two of the brigands fell, 
and the rest leapt away among the rocks and 
were lost to sight. 

This little interlude over, all rode on gaily 
to Cellano, where, in the absence of the Mar- 
quis of Lizzano, the intendente entertained 
them at breakfast, and where they were over- 
taken by a band of the gentlemen of the pro- 
vince, come to join in their ride. The old 
intendente received them most hospitably. 
" Benvenuta, Benvenuta mille e mille volte, 
Eccellentissimo Signore Generate ! " Then turn- 
ing to the gentlemen and officers with gracious 
salutation, ''Benvenuta a tutti loro signori 
cavalieri! Che gioja, che piacere!" So the 
kind old man bustled about, interspersing com- 
pliments and felicitations, with remonstrances 
for having taken him by surprise, so that he 
had nothing in the house, nothing fit to be 
offered to such honoured guests, " niente, niente 


affatto" though a sly peep into the dining- 
room set the young officers' minds at rest on 
that score, for the tables were laden with good 
things fish, flesh, and fowl, mountains of jelly, 
oceans of cream, fruit, salad, pastry, wines of 
all kinds. The hungry cavaliers did ample 
justice to the fare, and jests and laughter went 
merrily round, rejoicing the hospitable heart of 
their host, who perambulated the room, heap- 
ing plates and filling glasses, and only dis- 
tressed because General Church, always a 
small eater, did not, as he expressed it, " man- 
giar generalmente. Coraggio, Signore Gener- 
ate" he coaxingly said, " bisogno mangiar molto 
per star bene ! " 

Then suddenly darting off, he reappeared 
followed by a servant, and bearing a dish of 
hot smoking potatoes and a bottle of rum, his 
face beaming with the joy of one who is 
conscious of having hit upon really the right 

" I am acquainted with your English cus- 
toms, you see, Signore Generale" he cried. 
"Yes, yes, I know that you can never finish 
a meal without these," pointing to the tray. 
" See, a few potatoes and a couple of glasses 
of rummo Inglese. Now, your Excellency, this 
at least you will not refuse ! " 

What was to be done ? To refuse the kind 


old man was impossible. Equally impossible 
to gratify him ! The General cast imploring 
glances upon the circle of aides-de-camp and 
officers, but there was no help for him there. 
They would follow him to face the foe any day, 
but they were enjoying his present dilemma 
too thoroughly to wish to help him out of it. 
There they sat in their places, with grave faces 
and dancing eyes, to see what their chief would 
do. He says he thought of pleading his Irish 
birth, but the plea seemed incongruous some- 
how, and would have been certainly incom- 
prehensible, and attempts at excuse were of 
no avail, only bringing a doubting question, 
whether then his Excellency was not Inglese ? 
So he seized and swallowed a potato, and then, 
with smarting throat and tearful eyes, gulped 
down half a glass of the potent rum ; whereat 
his host clapped his hands gleefully, exclaim- 
ing, " JEvviva, evviva, e in verita uri Inglese," 
which was echoed by the servants, and a de- 
lighted giggle ran round the circle of aides- 

Now the work of the day must be begun : 
that was to visit some of the masserie which 
lay perched among the craggy slopes of the 
Monte di Martina, and which were favourite 
lurking-places for Don Giro Annichiarico and 
his band of brigands. The first they visited, 


Masseria dell' Duca, was a very good specimen 
of its class. It was backed by steep wooded 
hills, which rendered escape and concealment 
easy on the first alarm. Its thick walls dated 
from the middle ages, and were loopholed and 
protected by great solid gates and an avenue 
of trees, which was now effectually blocked up 
by carts with the wheels taken off, and logs 
and tree-trunks laid crosswise. At one corner 
of the enclosure rose a square tower, from the 
top of which you might overlook the great 
plain, dotted with white towns and villages, 
patched with brown leafless vineyards, green 
meads, silver-grey olive-orchards, and bounded 
by the shining sea. But at present the view 
was not before the eyes of the visitors, as they 
were outside the walls, within the avenue. 

In the first place, it was necessary to remove 
the obstacles which blocked the avenue, and 
this took some time. The dragoons stood by 
meanwhile, carbine in hand, to guard against 
attack. Having reached the outer courtyard, 
they found the gates fast barred, and these 
being broken open, they entered : not a sign of 
life appeared. The grey old tower, the square 
building, lay silent and apparently deserted, 
though it was close upon noonday. The oaken 
doors were fast closed, and no reply was re- 
turned to knocking. It might have been the 


castle of the Sleeping Beauty, as it lay there 
in the sunshiny silence ! 

A soldier laid his ear to the door. 

" Sir," said he, " I think I hear whispering 

" Bianchi," said General Church, " your men 
command those loopholes ? " 

"A mouse, sir, daren't show his nose ! " 

" Good. Don't fire if you can help it. 
Fusco, knock again." 

Three thundering knocks followed, with 
shouts of " Apt^ite, aprite ! " but there was 
no sound in reply. 

" Come, we must get in somehow," said the 
General. " Let us see what the heels of the 
trumpeters' horses can do for us." 

He explains that as the trumpeters ride in 
front they are not often in close contact with 
the other troopers, and that therefore the 
wickedest horses are likely to fall to their 
share, and that this was the case in the 
present instance, these horses being known as 
furious kickers. The idea was received with 
a shout of laughter. The three black beasts 
were backed against the door. 

" Fire the train ! " cried the General, and a 
cut of the whip across their heels set the horses 
plunging and kicking so furiously that in 
crashed the door, and half-a-dozen gendarmes, 


carbine in hand, rushed through the opening 
thus made. 

They found themselves in a very large room, 
comfortably furnished after the manner of these 
Apulian masserie. Great chests, some for hold- 
ing meal, some for holding clothes and linen, a 
heavy oaken table, some stools and benches, 
were on the floor ; jars of olives, figs, raisins, 
stood upon a shelf against the smoke-dried 
wall ; strings of onions, sausages, and dried fish 
dangled from the rafters. Cheeses there were 
too, and huge jars of olive-oil, and half-a-dozen 
demijohns (great stone bottles), stoppered with 
oiled cotton, and containing the wine of the 
country, stood under the table. There was 
provision for a garrison, but apparently not a 
soul to make use of it ! But, on examination, 
a small door leading to an inner chamber was 
discovered, and on opening it two sturdy peas- 
ants were discovered lying on a bed, and appa- 
rently so sound asleep that it required a good 
deal of shaking and shouting before they sat 
up, rubbing their eyes with portentous yawns, 
and asking 

" Che volete, signori?" 

" Come, get up, and come along to the Gen- 
eral. Here they are, General." 

" Ah, my friends, you sleep pretty soundly, 
methinks. Who lives in this masseria?" 


To which the only answer was a sullen " Chi 

" Why did you not answer our summons ? " 

" I suppose because we were asleep." 

"Are there any people here besides your- 
selves ? " 

A shrug of the shoulders and another " Chi 

"You rascal! Is that the way you answer 
his Excellency ? " cried Fusco. " Though, in 
truth," he muttered, "it is your Excellency's 
own fault. They think their lives are safe in 
your hands, so they won't speak a word." 

" Yes, yes, I know. We'll try another plan." 
Then raising his voice, " Bianchi, blow open 
the door of the tower and let us see what's 
within. Where's the powder ? " 

Whereupon the door of the tower was flung 
open from the inside, and out rushed half- 
a-dozen men and women, crying, shrieking, 
gesticulating, wringing their hands. 

" Madonna, Madonna ! misericordia ! 
perdona" they cried, " poveri noi ! " 

It was impossible to get any information 
out of anybody in such a din ; so after exam- 
ining the tower and finding it empty, some of 
the gendarmes took the men in charge and 
marched them into the courtyard, while the 
women were shut up in the tower, under 


charge of Captain Viti, the tallest and hand- 
somest of the gendarmes ("a body of men," 
says General Church, " remarkable for their 
good looks "), who was recommended to treat 
them civilly, and try whether he could get 
any useful information out of them ! Mean- 
while the General set patiently to work to 
examine the men in the courtyard, especially 
the two first found, but to very little purpose, 
" Chi lo sa?" being the burden of their replies. 

" Where were the brigands ? How should 
they know ? They were poor peasants, who 
minded their own affairs, and never stirred 
beyond their own farm. Poor? Yes, truly. 
So poor were they, in fact, that the brigands 
passed them by, and their safety lay in hav- 
ing nothing to lose. Why did they bar their 
doors and refuse to answer when summoned ? 
Ah, chi lo saf From fear, certainly. His 
Excellency was merciful, his Excellency would 
understand. What did they know whether 
it was the brigands who knocked or not ? As 
to Don Giro yes, they heard of him, without 
doubt. How old was he ? Chi lo sa ? How 
tall? Dark or fair? How could they know 
when they had never seen him ? " 

The General began to lose patience, but tried 
another tack. " What will you drink wine 
or rum ? " 


Still the elder man answered only " CJii lo 
sa?" but the other, a less sullen and deter- 
mined-looking fellow, looked up with a twinkle 
in his eye. " A glass of wine, if your Excel- 
lency pleases." 

His fellow pushed him impatiently aside. 
" Scusi, signore, we are not thirsty at present." 

" Look you, my friend, do you know that 
you are on the way to be hanged one of these 

" Very likely, signore," was the cool reply. 

Just then a diversion was caused by the 
sudden appearance of the General's orderly, 
an old soldier, Boehmer by name. Boehmer 
was a very good servant if he could be kept 
from the wine-flask, but because of this weak- 
ness he was always getting into scrapes, being 
threatened with dismissal, and then forgiven 
because he was so faithful, so affectionate, so 
zealously devoted to his master, and withal 
such a quaint, amusing, good-humoured fellow. 
Now behold him, rolling forward, with the 
most ludicrous attempt at steadiness, and sal- 
uting with preternatural gravity. 

" What do you mean, you drunken scoun- 
drel ? " cried his angry master. " Get along 
with you, and don't dare to appear before me 
in that state ! " 

" If your Excellency will let me speak " 


" You are not likely to say anything worth 
hearing. You ought to be ashamed of your- 

" As your Excellency pleases. I thought it 
my duty to take a turn round the place to 
see that all was right and if your Excellency 
will follow me " 

" Boehmer has wit in his wine. Let's go 
and see what he has found," said General 
Church ; and they went, prisoners and all, 
Boehmer marching in front, very stiff and 
straight, and muttering " Con rispetto never 
soberer as sober as any of you ! " 

He led them through a little gate in the 
wall, and there in a corner he pointed drama- 
tically to a huge heap of feathers and freshly 
picked bones, and asked, " Where did those 
come from? Mon General, v'la les brigands 
le diner des brigands c'est-a-dire " 

"Right, right, Boehmer," cried the officers 
who pressed round ; " they must have dined 
here within the hour. What a feast they 
have had ! " 

"You live well in this masseria" said the 
General to the two peasants who stood stolid- 


" Alas ! signore, no : bread and water a few 
olives perhaps now and then a fowl, or a kid 
from our own flock." 


" Come, come, this has gone far enough ! We 
must teach you to speak the truth. Look 
there ! Lambs, capons a feast for a prince ! 
Twenty people have dined here. Tell me who 
they were, or 

"Perhaps it was the wolves," suggested the 
younger man, with an insinuating air. " We 
are much troubled by wolves at this season, 
your Excellency." 

The General had to pass his hand over his 
mouth to hide a smile at the fellow's effrontery. 

" Nonsense, sir ! No more lying. Bianchi, 
get ready, since these fellows won't tell the 

They were marched back into the courtyard, 
and made to kneel with their backs to the wall, 
while a file of soldiers stood opposite with 
levelled carbines. The women, who crowded 
to the windows of the tower overhead, set 
up a dismal wailing, mingled with entreaties 
to their friends to tell the truth. 

The younger man cried out, " Eccellenza, 
sooner than be shot I will tell 

"Bestial" interrupted the other. "Don't 
listen to him, your Excellency. He lies, he 
knows nothing. I will speak. What does 
your Excellency desire to know?" 

" Desire to know, fellow ! Who dined here 
to-day ? I ask for the last time." 


"Well then if I must speak it was 
the intendente of the province on his way 
to Martina. He left an hour before you 
arrived," said this cool personage, smiling and 
smacking his lips as if he remembered the 
taste of the feast ; " and he enjoyed his dinner 
amazingly ! " 

" As you seem to have done ! " 

" Just so, your Excellency. Yes, yes ; there 
have been fifteen or twenty people here, as 
you said." 

" You mean to say that is true ? " 

"But surely, Signore Generale" in a tone 
of candid expostulation " ask my comrade. 
The intendente left Bari this morning ; and 
since in these times one has to be cautious, 
he bade us say nothing about his being 

"Now look here, you rascals! it would 
serve you right if I had you shot out of hand. 
Perhaps I might, if there was a priest handy ! 
So, Bianchi, you keep the fellows safe till I 
ride a bit farther and come back here." 

The General knew that the peasants were 
more afraid of Don Giro's vengeance than of 
his, and that he should get no more infor- 
mation at that moment. So he rode off to 
another masseria, called the Pie di Monti, 
where the only inhabitant was a slim, dark- 


eyed, curly-haired lad, who uncovered with 
a frank open countenance, which took the 
General's fancy at once. 

" My boy, is it not true that Don Giro dined 
here to-day ? " 

" Not here, signore mio. He dined at the 
Masseria dell' Duca and then he came here, 
and carried off our wine ! " 

" Is this really the truth ? " 

" Per Cristo, si, signore ! I would say it to 
their faces." 

" Do so, my boy, and fear nothing. Mount 
behind that dragoon." 

" Will your Excellency protect me ? " 

" Certainly I will." 

" Then I am ready." 

" You will speak out ? " 

" Your Excellency may depend upon me. I 
have given my word ! " 

Soon they were back again at the Masseria 
dell' Duca, and very black were the looks of 
the other peasants when they were confronted 
with the handsome lad. 

" Speak out, my boy. Where did Don Giro 
dine to-day 1 " 

"Here, signore. Here in this very masseria." 

" Oh you liar ! oh you rascal ! oh you son of 
a lying mother ! " cried the other peasants, 
" how dare you tell lies to his Excellency ? " 


" Who lies ? not I," said the boy. " Do you 
mean to deny that he dined here, and Palma 
too, and all the comitiva ? A fine festa they 
had, for I heard them say so only they were 
disturbed over their drink, so they came on 
to us, arid carried off six skins of wine, curse 
them ! It was all we had. They said their 
scouts warned them that General Giorgio and 
the cavalry were close at hand." 

" Oh thou liar, and son of liars ! Hold thy 
tongue. The comitiva has not been here at all 
to-day, and the only people here have come 
from Taranto." 

" From Taranto ? What people from Tar- 
anto ? Bagattdla ! " said the lad, with a toss 
of his curly locks. 

So the matter ended. The two peasants 
were marched off under escort to Francavilla 
for further examination. The lad went with 
them for protection ; and the General and 
the rest of his men rode to two more masserie, 
before starting home to Francavilla. 

The sun was going down. The cavalry 
horses were tired with a ride of nearly forty 
miles. Francavilla was twenty miles distant, 
and General Church was bound to be there 
that night, and wanted, besides, to visit his 
chain of posts on the way. The officers 
remonstrated, declaring that the road was 


too unsafe for travelling by night without 
the cavalry, and entreated their chief to take 
up his quarters till daybreak at the Masseria 
dell' Duca. 

" Send me a couple of orderlies, then," said 
he. " Tell those fellows to get everything 
prepared for me and my staff at once." Then 
in a lower tone, " That will surely be handed 
on to Don Giro. So now, good night, my 
friends ! Who will ride to Francavilla with 
me? Of course the officers of cavalry must 
stay and look after their men, and you will 
all meet me at breakfast to-morrow morning." 

So he started with the aides-de-camp, the 
now sober Boehmer, and the gentlemen from 
Lecce, who, in spite of his protestations, refused 
to stay behind, and after three hours of " rid- 
ing in the dark over execrable roads, broken 
ground, and swampy fields," reached Francavilla 
in safety, the only stoppages being caused 
by the challenges from the vedettes posted 
along the road. Near Francavilla the heavy 
rain had so flooded the low-lying ground that 
ditches were undistinguishable from dry banks, 
especially in the dark. Presently there was a 
tremendous splash, followed by a laugh, and 
the General's voice exclaiming, " Avanti, sig- 
nori, a little water more or less can't make 
much difference ! " The fact was, he had been 


riding along a bank, followed by the faithful 
Boehmer, when both fell slap into a now in- 
visible ditch ; " and the compliments which 
Boehmer paid to the stream," says the General, 
" we cannot exactly repeat ! " 

"You fool! what did you do that for?" 
asked his unreasonable master, when he had 
scrambled up on the bank. 

To which Boehmer pertinently replied 

" Vous avez y passe, mon General, et c'est 
mon devoir de vous suivre partout ! " 

"Depuis quand est-ce que tu mets de I'eau 
dans ton vin, Boehmer ? " laughed one of the 

"Depuis que le Diable je veux dire le 
General m'en a donne Vexemple ! " answered 
Boehmer, as he drew out and carefully wiped 
his sword ; but as he remounted, off flew his 
shako. "Brigand de shako," &c., &c., he 
cried, and with his sword dexterously picked 
it out of the water, and placing it on his 
head, trotted off to regain his place behind 
his master. 

Wet and weary, they came to Francavilla, 
where they were hospitably received and mag- 
nificently feasted by a gentleman of the place, 
and after dinner the celebrated improvisatore, 
Don Angelo, was announced, requesting leave 
to recite some verses in honour of the distin- 


guished guests. The General was charmed to see 
Don Angelo would be charmed to listen to his 
improvising in ten minutes' time, when he had 
held a short conference with Colonel Schmerber 
on matters of immediate import. Would Don 
Angelo and the worthy host excuse him for 
this short space ? Then, business over, pleasure 
would have its turn. So the General and his 
chief of the staff retired to a private room, and 
were soon so deep in their maps and reports 
that poor Don Angelo and his verses were 
clean forgotten. 

Two hours later an aide-de-camp entered. 

" Oh, De Nitis, is it you ? Upon my word, 
I forgot ! What became of the improvisa- 

" Oh, he spouted for an hour, and very good 
his verses were. Then he went home, hoping 
to pay his respects to your Excellency in the 

"It is not quite certain that he will find me 
here to-morrow morning. Schmerber, I don't 
think you will object to a couple of hours' sleep, 
and I am sure I shall not. We must be in 
the saddle at daybreak. So now, good night, 

Next enter the master of the house on 
hospitable thoughts intent, bearing a tray of 
wine and biscuits with his own hands, to do 


the more honour to his guest. Oh, horror ! 
The General, booted and spurred, was calmly 
wrapping round him his military cloak in 
preparation for taking repose on a wide old- 
fashioned sofa, while there lay before him the 
mighty best bed, elaborately carved, curtained 
with crimson velvet, furnished with mountain- 
ous feather-bed and pillows, and snow-white, 
lace-fringed sheets and coverlet. 

" How, how, your Excellency ? " gasped the 
old gentleman, almost letting fall the tray ; 
" in my house ! I should never forgive myself, 
and what's more, my wife would never forgive 
me either ! See, your bed is ready, and it has 
been her pleasure to prepare it with her own 
hands for your Excellency. And you would 
sleep on the sofa? No, no, that is impossible 
you will not do us such a wrong." 

" Only for this one night, dear Don Bartolo- 
meo," pleaded the General, in his most insinu- 
ating manner ; " when I return, how happy I 
shall be to occupy your most beautiful bed, 
but in two or three hours I must be off again, 
and how could I persuade myself to leave so 
comfortable a couch in two hours' time ? In- 
deed, I must resist the temptation, dear Don 

" But my wife ; ah, if your Excellency had a 


" I should doubtless say to her as you, dear 
friend, will say to the signora ' How kind ! 
but it is impossible/ When I return I will 
myself make my excuses to the signora, and 
obtain her forgiveness. I will sleep in that 
magnificent bed for a week with pleasure then ; 
only to-night I positively must have my own 

"Ah, it is the same as saying that your 
Excellency is an Englishman," answered the 
host, with a sigh and a shrug. "It is an 
Englishman's nature to love freedom and to 
be set on having his own way ! So, felice 
notte, caro Signore Generate" 

But the General was not to have the sleep 
for which he longed, for no sooner had the door 
closed behind Don Bartolomeo than it was 
opened again by the General's orderly, with 
the information that an ill-looking fellow in- 
sisted on coming in to see him. 

"And I can't allow such a fellow to enter 
your Excellency's presence unless I may remain 
in the room," said the faithful Boehmer. 

" Thank you, my friend ; but bring him in, 
whatever or whoever he may be. I am accus- 
tomed to queer visitors, you know, and you 
must leave us alone. But never fear," and he 
significantly touched the pistols which lay close 
at hand. 


" As your Excellency commands ; but it is 
much against my will," grumbled Boehmer. 

He went out, and returned with a bronzed 
and bearded man, wrapped in the universal 
cloak, and with his felt hat well slouched over 
his face. 

Very unwillingly the orderly obeyed his 
master's sign and left the room, leaving the 
door a little ajar; but the stranger stepped 
back a few paces and quietly closed it. Then 
he took off his hat, and a smile stole over 
his swarthy features as he asked 

" Does not your Excellency know me ? " 

" In truth, my friend, I do not." 

He rubbed his hands and showed his white 
teeth with an air of delight. 

"Is it possible ! Am I already forgotten ? 
Povero me ! His Excellency positively does 
not know who I am ? " 

" Not I. You might be Don Giro himself 
with that beard. Come, none of this foolery, 
sir. Who are you, and what do you want ? " 

" Per dona, Eccellenza; I thought you would 
have recognised De Feo." 

He pulled off a half-mask, which disguised 
the upper part of his face as effectually as the 
beard had done the lower, and stood revealed 
as a certain officer of gendarmerie who had 
been for the last two or three weeks on a mis- 


sion to watch the movements of the brigands. 
He was a hardy, reckless, dare-devil sort of a 
fellow, who was suspected of having had deal- 
ings with the brigands on his own account in 
former times, and who had certainly managed 
to get into the bad graces of former com- 
manders ; but General Church had taken a 
fancy to him, and always found him a faithful 
and honest officer, prompt and eager when any 
adventure was forward, and, on the principle 
of " Set a thief to catch a thief," particularly 
useful when there was looking after Don Giro 
and his banditti to be done. 

" I am very glad to see you, De Feo. Well, 
what have you done ? " 

" Spent time enough among the brigands to 
count against all the sins I have committed 
when I come to purgatory." 

" Let me hear but have you supped ? " 

"Not even breakfasted, mon General." 

" Call the orderly then, and tell him to get 
you something to eat. Now then, while it is 
getting ready, give me a sketch of your pro- 
ceedings. First of all where is Don Giro ? " 

" In Francavilla at this moment." 

"The devil he is!" 

" Fact, your Excellency. He rode here with 
you to-night, in the uniform of the regiment 
Reale Corona." 


The General used an expression for which he 
would certainly have reproved Boehmer, before 
he asked, " Where did Giro dine this morn- 

"At the Masseria dell' Duca. He rode 
there from Grottaglia last night. Your Excel- 
lency was at Grottaglia yesterday, and he left 
the town as you entered it." 

" And he is here now, of course, in some 
other disguise." 

" Of course ; and as to finding him in this 
infernal city, which is full of his friends, and 
where we are a mere handful " 

" Yes, yes. Not to be thought of. Do they 
mean to make a stir ? " 

" Not unless Taranto, Ostuni, and Lecce will 

" They won't. And where have you been ? " 

" About the woods of Girifalco, where I came 
across the whole comitiva. Luckily I was 
mounted and they were not, at the moment. 
But I had a close shave for my life. They 
were lounging in a little glade among the 
trees, drinking, laughing, quarrelling, and I 
crept up as near as I dared behind the brush- 
wood. One said, 'Why shouldn't we laugh?' 
and another voice growled out, ' Because a 
couple of balls may send the laugh down your 
throat.' ' Softly there,' said the first ; ' two can 


play at that game.' ' Come, come/ said a third 
voice, ' if you must shoot, shoot the rascally 
soldiers.' ' What do you mean ? I have been 
a soldier myself,' said the laugher. ' Come 
on, you dogs ! I defy you ! ' ' You talk big 
enough ; but it's not the dogs that bark 
loudest that are quickest to bite,' was the 
answer. Another voice spoke in an authori- 
tative tone, ' What is this ? Rascals that you 
are, how dare you quarrel together when there 
is business in hand ? Join hands and be friends 
if you value your lives.' ' Here is my hand ' 
' And mine ' ' And mine ' ' And mine ! ' they 
cried. ' It is well, and I forgive you this time ; 
but remember, you are warned. Brothers, be 
careful in future/ 

"When I heard this, in the deep authori- 
tative voice, I knew it must be Don Giro himself 
who spoke, and I thought it wisest to mount 
and ride off as silently as possible. But they 
caught sight of me, the villains, and half a 
dozen started up to bar my way across the 
opening of the glade. However, I dashed 
through, while the balls whistled past me. 
One went through the high crown of my hat, 
though luckily it did not stop in my head. 
Here it is, General," and he held up the hat. 

" Truly a providence," said the General, 
examining it. " Well, what next ? " 


" Oh, when I got clean away, I left my horse 
with a friend, and skulked about a bit in the 
disguise which puzzled your Excellency. By 
the by, you had a narrow escape on your way 
to Lizzano this morning. Giro had posted a 
strong detachment in ambush on the San Mar- 
zano road ; but your Excellency went another 
way. For the love of God, don't run such 
another risk as you did in to-night's ride." 

" Oh, nonsense ! But how did Giro know I 
was going to Lizzano ? I thought I had kept 
that a secret ? " 

"Your Excellency did so, but the Marquis 
had ordered preparations to be made for guests, 
though he mentioned 110 names. Fish and 
oysters were ordered from Taranto, confetti 
from Manduria, cream and ricotta from different 
farms, and a wild boar from the Armeo woods. 
I have told you that Giro is here to-night. He 
is come on purpose to find out what you mean 
to do to-morrow." 

" He won't find out much." 

" Certainly not ; for not even your Excel- 
lency's officers know whither they are bound, 
when they mount. But remember, Don Giro 
has sworn to kill you, General, and 

" And your supper is ready, De Feo ; so go 
and eat it, and do wash your face. Good night." 

So ended a busy day, one of many like it. 







AFTER the capture and execution of Giro Anni- 
chiarico, Francavilla regained its normal con- 
dition as a quiet little country town. The 
crowds who had gathered from the country 
round dispersed to their own homes ; no trace 
remained of the ghastly scene in the little 
Piazza ; churches, there and everywhere, re- 
sounded with Te Deums ; the city gates were 
adorned with triumphal arches ; the troops had 
a couple of days' holiday ; the General's brother 
came from his home at Florence to pay him a 
visit, and rode with him, and other friends, in 
an almost royal progress from city to city, wel- 
comed everywhere with speeches and shouting, 
presented with the freedom of the city here, 
with a sword of honour there. 


Some extracts from old family letters tell 
us of this time. On February 15, 1818, the 
brother writes to his wife : 

As I told you in my last from Francavilla, the army 
marched on the following morning. You can have no 
idea of the manner in which the General has been re- 
ceived. About a mile from the town all the authorities 
met him in a procession of carriages. At the gate he 
was met by the commandant, the governor and officers 
of the port, and served with a salute of artillery, the 
people shouting "Ewiva il Re ! Evviva il Generate ! " as 
we reached the house prepared for our reception. We 
sat down to a sumptuous banquet, followed by a brilliant 
ball. We have been to several towns, and have been 
met everywhere with the same enthusiasm and joy. 
People come miles to meet Richard the king himself 
could not have been better received : but for him this 
province would have been the theatre of a dreadful re- 
bellion. We have gone through beautiful country, the 
most fertile in the kingdom. Our march to Lecce will 
take three days. We have ridden about three hundred 
miles from place to place, through woods and over rocky 
irregular roads, accompanied by two hundred cavalry 
and about twenty gentlemen of the country. 

A week later he writes from Lecce : 

Have finished a campaign of twenty days, fifteen 
on horseback, but none the worse, and have met the 
same enthusiastic reception everywhere. 

Once they fell in with a party of young 
hunters in a wood, who presented the General 
with a huge wild boar which they had just 


killed. Rather a weighty present, one would 
think, to carry about on a march ! The weather 
was fine, the country beautiful, every one looked 
gay and festive, coming out with music, with 
addresses, with flags and garlands. Bishops 
and clergy headed their flocks, and gave solemn 
benedictions to the troops as they rode by. 
The city of Lecce received them at the Gate of 
Rugia, which was decorated with wreaths and 
with flags inscribed Pace Sicurta Onore 
Gratitudine ; and as they rode slowly along 
through the streets, flowers were showered 
down upon them by fair hands from the gaily 
draped windows and balconies. 

People were almost afraid to speak to one another, 
[says another letter], but now all is changed. Eichard 
gives a ball every week, and the intendente gives 
another. . . . Eichard's commission makes him com- 
pletely despotic: people hope it will continue, for he 
has saved this country from a reign of terror. Every 
day wretches are brought in from the woods and caves. 
. . . Though the brigands are pretty well got rid of, 
Eichard will not let us travel without an escort. I have 
much enjoyed this visit. 

There is an interesting notice of General 
Church at this time in the ' Autobiography of 
Sir John Rennie/ F.R.S. He says : 

We reached Lecce, the capital of the province, Feb- 
ruary 8, 1820. Next day I called on General Church, 
the Governor of the province, and was most kindly 


received by him, he insisting on my making his house 
my home. . . . General Church was an extraordinary 
man. He was below the middle size, about the age of 
five-and-forty [his age at this time was about thirty-six], 
extremely well-built, spare, sinewy, and active, with 
a well-proportioned head, sharp piercing eyes, rather 
aquiline nose, and a closely compressed mouth, de- 
noting great firmness and resolution. He commanded 
a regiment of Albanians and Greeks as an auxiliary 
corps in the British employment during the great war, 
and in that position assisted the operations of the 
British cruisers on the coast of Italy, and hence became 
subsequently attached to the army of Lord William 
Bentinck after his conquest of Sicily. Church was a 
proficient in the Greek, Italian, and French languages, 
and having considerable military talents, and being 
a great disciplinarian, soon brought the rough and 
savage elements of which his corps was composed into 
tolerable order, and rendered them of considerable 
service in the wild warfare in which they were en- 
gaged. At the conclusion of the war he retired on 
half-pay to Naples, where, being well known to the 
Government, he was made Governor of the province 
of Otranto, at that time overrun with brigands. Church 
was appointed to the command with unlimited control, 
and by his vigorous and energetic conduct soon spread 
terror and dismay among them : he was here, there, and 
everywhere ; when they least expected, he came upon 
them suddenly, dispersed them, and destroyed the 
leaders without mercy. He had many narrow escapes 
himself. ... In a short time he extirpated brigandism, 
the province regained its tranquillity, and the people 
pursued their several employments in peace, without 
fear of molestation, blessing the General who had 
relieved them from their oppressors. 


Being particularly desirous of seeing Brindisi, from 
my recollections of Horace, I obtained an escort of two 
dragoons from General Church, "For," said he, "you 
may meet some unwelcome visitors on the road ; but if 
they see the uniform of my dragoons they will not 
trouble you with their acquaintance." 

There is another letter, dated May 1820, 
from which a passage may be quoted. It is 
from John D. Church, Richard's elder brother, 
whose letters have been quoted before. " I 
reached Lecce through a country where I had 
an escort of eighty soldiers when I was here 
last. Now all is quiet, and no escort is 

On this occasion he was accompanied by his 
wife and little son, five years old. That child, 
who clung to his father's hand and listened 
with wistful half-terrified eyes to the talk of 
his elders, grew up to be Dean of St Paul's ; 
and in later life he always had an impression 
that he had seen and shuddered at the grim 
blackened heads fastened in iron cages over 
the gates of the cities. But this must have 
been the impression left on his lively childish 
imagination conjuring up pictures of what he 
had heard described till they seemed reality ; 
for in September 1818 we find that the Gen- 
eral had proclaimed " an amnesty for the 
past to include all those who from ignorance 


or fear have consented to belong to criminal 
associations ; " publicly announced " that he 
will receive no accusations against the indi- 
viduals of this province on the subject of the 
principal or secondary part which they may 
be accused of having taken in the late un- 
fortunate events;" and finally, in April 1819, 
orders a letter to be read in all the churches 
of the province commanding that " the heads 
of the malefactors executed by the Military 
Tribunal shall be taken down from the differ- 
ent gates and towers on which they had been 
set up, and buried, so that their memory may 
be altogether extinguished." 

For some time stragglers from the brigands 
were found by the peasants, and brought in 
from caves and forests ; and there are curious 
stories of such captures, of which one shall be 
related here. 

Two officers were returning from Taranto to 
Lecce one night. A dark and stormy night 
it was, and very glad were they to see the 
twinkling of a light at no great distance, 
as they were crossing the plain not far from 
Manduria, famous for its holy well, " della 
Madonna di Misericordia." Also, we are told, 
" the inhabitants of Manduria are distinguished 
for their love of order, urbanity, and hospital- 
ity." The twinkling light led them to a poor 


little masseria; but poor though it was, the 
two officers were glad of shelter. So they put 
their horses into the stable and entered the 
house. The only inhabitants were an old 
man and his little granddaughter. An " old, 
old man," bent and bowed, with a queer brown 
face, all seamed and crossed with wrinkles, 
who regarded the uninvited guests with small 
favour, muttering to himself and shaking his 
head, as he shot furtive glances at them out 
of his little ferrety eyes ; and after informing 
the officers that he had nothing to give them 
to eat, and no beds to offer them, he threw 
a log on the hearth, lay down on a heap of 
straw in one corner of the room, where the 
child was already asleep, and appeared to 
follow her example. 

The young officers took it very coolly, shook 
streams of water from their hats and cloaks, 
pulled a bench in front of the fire, devoured 
such refreshment, in the shape of bread and 
sausage and wine, as they had with them, 
and then pulled out their cigars and prepared 
to make a night of it. An hour had passed, 
when the door of the masseria was pushed 
open, and another guest, after standing si- 
lently for a moment on the threshold, came 
forward and joined himself to their company. 
He was very tall, with a muscular sinewy 



frame, showing great strength and activity, 
gaunt, brown, with dark glittering eyes which 
reminded the officers of those of a hungry 
wolf, and hands disproportionately large, even 
for his great height. Also, one finger was 
wanting on the right hand. All this the 
officers were able to note as he shook his 
long brown cloak and slouched hat, before 
putting them on again. They saw also that 
he carried a carbine, and that in his belt were 
stuck three pistols and a curved and curiously 
embossed hunting-knife ; while round his neck 
and on his breast were hung several relics 
a small black cross, a silver death's-head, and 
two figures of the Madonna, embroidered in 
crimson silk. 

The officers glanced at one another : they 
did not like this apparition ; but what was to 
be done ? They were far away from head- 
quarters, there were no other inhabitants of 
the masseria than a feeble old man and a 
child. Besides, they had no commission to 
arrest suspicious wayfarers, and it was by no 
means certain whether a whistle might not fill 
the house with armed confederates, if they 
showed mistrust of the stranger. 

So it seemed best to salute him, to make 
way for him on the bench, and to take out 
fresh cigars. The stranger returned their 


civilities, and remarks upon the weather 
followed, while the thunder growled, the 
lightning came in fitful flashes, and the rain 
pattered steadily on the roof. Presently the 
stranger tried a new topic. " Signori miei," 
he asked, while his wild glittering eyes seemed 
to gleam from under his slouched hat in a way 
to make one shudder, " do you know General 
Giorgio ? " 

The officers turned and looked at him at this 
unexpected question. "SI, signore," answered 

" Ah, he is a fine man ! " The mysterious 
stranger kept his face in the shadow of his 
hat, but "held them with his glittering eye" 
as he spoke. " He has rid the country of 
robbers, and we travel in safety by night and 
by day." 

" Signore, do you know General Giorgio ? " 

" Oh yes ; but perfectly ! In fact, I am in 
his service." 

If these had not been young officers, new to 
their work, they would have recognised by the 
silver death's-head round his neck, and the 
curious characters traced on his long black- 
handled knife, that this was no follower of 
General Church, but a guapo, a brigand, and, 
worst of all, one of the sect of the Decisi. But 
as it was, though they doubted whether any 


amount of sheep's clothing would make him 
anything but a wolf, there was the possibility, 
they thought, of his being a gendarme in dis- 
guise returning from some secret mission to 
headquarters, like themselves. At any rate, it 
seemed best to accept the statement. 

" Signori," he said, " when next we meet, I 
hope you will bear witness that you found me 
busy in the General's service." To this they 
answered with a gesture, and the stranger 
went on : " Yes, yes, I have done good service 
against Giro Annichiarico. Ah, his time is 
over now ! Eighteen years he was king of 
these provinces and more, but, per Santo 
Diavolo, his head is off at last, and his reign 
is over ! Che briccone ! what a rascal ! And 
now we are free, thanks to General Giorgio. 
And I have served him so well ! Ah, when we 
meet at headquarters you will see, you will 

They made some reply to this, and the con- 
versation dropped. Now and then one or 
another threw a fresh log on the hearth, and 
lit a fresh cigar. Now and then the two 
officers made some remark to each other in 
French, but otherwise they sat still and silent, 
till the crowing of the first cock made them all 

"It will soon be daybreak. What kind of 


night is it now? The thunder has ceased," 
said one of the young men, rising ; and, 
followed by his comrade, he went to the door, 
opened it, and stepped outside. It was still 
raining, and " dark as a wolf's throat," and 
they returned to the fire to wait till daylight. 
But where was their strange companion ? They 
had left him sitting on the bench, staring at 
the smouldering fire, cigar in mouth, carbine 
in hand. They stirred the logs till flames 
shot up and lighted the room. They seized 
a splinter, and, using it as a torch, searched 
every corner. He was not there ! Yet the 
room possessed but one door, and its only 
window was but a few inches square, and, 
moreover, full fifteen feet from the ground. 
They looked in vain for a ladder, or even a 
chair to mount by, and the bench stood ex- 
actly where they had left it. As to the old 
massaro, he was snoring on his heap of straw, 
and there was not a cupboard or chest or corner 
which offered any chance of concealment. 

" What do you think about it ? " asked one, 
with an involuntary shudder. 

" Per Bacco ! I don't know what to think," 
answered his companion gloomily. " Brigands 
in flesh and blood are all very well, but as to 
this " 

" Since Giro is dead, upon my word I think 


it was the devil himself," said the other. 
" Could any mortal have escaped in such a 
fashion ? " 

They went to the door again and looked out. 
The rain had ceased, and a faint greyness 
showed that dawn was on its way. Every 
now and then a gust of wind shook the trees, 
bringing down a shower of drops. Otherwise, 
everything was still and quiet. 

" Let us leave this place," said the two 
young officers. " Hola, amico!" to the sleep- 
ing massaro ; " wake up and tell us our way 
to Lecce." 

The old man got up and came forward, 
glancing timidly round him, and hurried off 
to fetch the horses. The little girl crept after 
him, and both listened with frightened eyes 
as the officers told the adventure of the night. 
Then exclaiming, " O Madonna, protect us ! 
It was doubtless the devil himself. If he 
should return ? poveri noi ! " the massaro 
seized the child by the hand and hurried off 
into the woods which stretched like a belt 
round his house, leaving the two young men 
staring after him in amazement ! However, 
as there was no use pursuing him down un- 
known paths, they saddled their horses, took 
the widest road, and arrived at Lecce in safety 
in time for breakfast. 


Presently they were summoned to General 
Church's room, and found him, map spread on 
table, ready to listen to their report, which 
they gave, winding up with a full account of 
the night's adventure, and an inquiry as to 
whether the mysterious stranger was really in 
the General's service. 

The General leaned back in his chair and 
laughed. " Why, gentlemen," said he, " don't 
you know the meaning of the death's-head ? 
Have you never seen the black-handled dagger 
of the Decisi, with emblems inscribed on the 
blade ? Well, you never saw the papers and 
things found at Grottaglia and San Marzano, 
so how should you? That fellow, from your 
description, must be Occhio Lupo of the Seven- 
teen Murders a nice name, is it not ? and you 
must go after him. Come to me at sundown 
for instructions, and each of you provide a 
dozen men. You won't want more, now that 
Ciro is dead." 

When they returned, General Church 
showed them on his map that there were two 
roads which reached the masseria from Lecce, 
and directed that each of the officers should 
take one, with his little company of men, and 
reaching the fringe of wood that surrounded 
the house, at two o'clock in the morning, 
should take up their positions on either side 


of the door in silence, and wait there till the 
crowing of the cock. 

" But if the fellow has not dared to come 
back to the same place, General ? " 

" He will, and he will leave it as soon as 
the first cock crows. I know the ways of 
those gentry," answered their chief. " Only 
mind that your men make no noise of any 

So said, so done. And sure enough, as 
soon as the first cock began to crow the door 
of the masseria opened, and the dull glimmer 
of light within showed a dark figure stepping 
swiftly and silently across the threshold. But 
half-a-dozen strong arms were round him, and 
in a moment he was thrown to the ground 
and securely chained, his evil eyes glancing 
from one to another, till he saw the faces 
of his companions of the night before. Then 
an angry gleam and an oath showed that he 
recognised them, but he said not a word 

"And now, friend massaro, what have you 
to say for yourself? Harbouring brigands 
in your masseria, eh ? You will come along 
with us to Lecce, and see what General 
Giorgio has to say to you." 

The old massaro threw himself on his knees, 
and the child wept piteously, turning with 


clasped hands from one officer to the other, 
and entreating pardon for her povero nonno, 
her dear nonno, until the young men con- 
sented to hear the old man's story. 

" He harbour the robbers ? But no, no, 
the Madonna knew better than that ! It was 
true that this bad man had taken shelter 
in his house at night ; but what then ? How 
could he, a poor old man, help it, if such a 
one opened the door and walked in ? Could 
he drive him out by force ? See then, let the 
gentlemen ask the little one, if what he said 
was not true." Ah yes, but it was true, and 
the Madonna knew it. And the child chimed 
in, bringing to the rescue a pair of artless 
blue eyes, and many pretty gestures of appeal 
and coaxing, which quite softened the hearts 
of the two young officers. But how did 
Occhio Lupo escape ? Let the massaro tell 
that, and then 

Certainly he would tell all. To such kind 
signori it was a pleasure to tell everything ! 
The signori thought he was asleep ; but no, 
not exactly asleep on the contrary, he ap- 
peared to sleep, from fear, and thus he could 
see what happened. The signori went to 
the door well. And opened it well. And 
returned to find the guapo gone ? Had the 
signori happened to turn their heads, they 


would have seen that he followed at their 
heels, so close that at the moment they 
stepped outside, just at that momerrt he 
stepped outside too, and slipped into the 
shadow, so that when they returned, the door 
that shut them in shut him out ! He, the 
old massaro, prayed for the good gentle- 
men to all the saints, when he saw the Wolf- 
eye creeping behind them so with his 
carbine in his hand. For, you understand, 
there might have been a shot from the carbine, 
a blow from the dagger but why speak of 
those things, when it was past, and, blessed 
be the Madonna, they were safe ? 

"And the kind signori will not hurt the 
poor nonno ? " cried the child, clinging to 
him, and turning her pale wistful little face 
towards the questioners. 

" No, little one, we will not hurt him. But 
see here, friend, you may get your neck into 
the noose if you don't give up the habit of 
harbouring assassins ; so be warned. Now let 
us march ! " 

The two officers returned with their captive 
to headquarters, where of course he was tried 
by the Military Commission, and met with 
the fate which his name shows that he de- 
served. There was no longer any difficulty 
in finding people who would witness to his 


crimes, now that his chief was dead ; and 
he was taken to a village where one of his 
most atrocious murders had been committed, 
and there shot, behaving like the hardened 
ruffian he was to the last. " Ah ! " said he 
to Colonel Bentz, shaking his head and grind- 
ing his teeth, as the place of his doom came 
in sight, "if I could only burn the whole 
village ! " When, according to custom, the 
coffin which had been carried before him as 
a condemned criminal was laid on the ground 
beside him, he shuffled round it in spite of 
his irons, in an uncouth dance, called for a 
glass of brandy, and grumbled when wine 
was given him instead. A priest came near, 
holding forth the crucifix : the wretch spat 
upon it, pouring forth a flood of oaths and 
foul language. Then turning to the soldiers, 
who stood with levelled carbines, he said, " I 
go then. It is my turn. Good. I have 
killed seventeen and more, and it is only 
fair that I should die for that. I had thought 
I could venture on one more night in the mas- 
seria; but never mind, I can die as well as 
others have done. So now let us go addio, 
addio, addio ! " and the words were cut short 
by a volley which laid him dead on the ground, 
the last of the captains of the Decisi, if not the 






FOR the next two years General Church 
lived at Lecce as commandant of the province 
of Apulia. Lecce, which for some years had 
lost its old reputation for gaiety and light- 
heartedness, again became " one of the pleas- 
antest cities of Italy." He " enjoyed the 
agreeable society and splendid hospitality of 
the inhabitants of the provinces of Bari and 
Otranto." " Not a single murder or robbery 
took place during this time." He was flattered 
and feted, the Government gave him thanks, 
and promised him rewards which never came. 
His brother writes : 

Eichard is promised a post of great honour and 
eminence, so now his fortune is made; [and a little 
later] : he has not yet got his reward, but before long 


(entre nous) we shall have a Marquess in the family 
with a fine estate ! So attached are the people to him 
that his recall would cause a rebellion. Will you 
believe that such has been the state of the country 
for years under the sway of the terrible brigand and 
his band, that many people have not ventured outside 
their doors, and even the sindaco of the place and the 
intendente of the province have not ventured outside 
the gates of the city ? 

Meanwhile the General has expended his 
own little fortune, and has borrowed a large 
sum from his devoted brother, in paying his 
soldiers, and returning the hospitalities offered 
him, but is unable to get from the Government 
even his arrears of pay. 

The work was done, and done well. But 
as to paying the workman, that was another 
matter. And as time went on, and other 
claims were pushed to the front, the Govern- 
ment was glad to forget old promises, and 
throw aside their no longer needed instrument. 

Even during this period of General Church's 
prosperity there might be heard the grumbling 
of the coming storm. It was impossible that 
it should be otherwise. He was a foreigner, 
set in a high place over the heads of native 
governors ; this of itself would naturally cause 
jealousy and dislike. He was uncompromis- 
ing, determined to do his work in his own 
way, to hold to his rights very likely a bit 


arrogant in asserting them, very likely not so 
courteous as prudence would dictate towards 
those whom he disliked and thought badly of. 

Two stories will illustrate his methods of 
dealing with those who were not worthy of 
respect or trust. 

There was a certain Government spy in 
Lecce, Don Luigi Gentili, who for years had 
lived and grown rich by his infamous trade. 
Everybody detested him, but everybody feared 
him too much to show it. He was almost as 
powerful in the city as Giro Annichiarico him- 
self. His mode of action was equally simple 
and ingenious. He merely sailed with the 
stream. When King Ferdinand reigned, Gen- 
tili furnished him with lists of the disaffected 
people who were on the side of Napoleon. 
When Ferdinand gave place to Joseph Buona- 
parte, Gentili was equally ready with lists of 
those who were plotting to get the old Gov- 
ernment back. The same game was played 
under Murat ; and when Murat was shot, and 
Ferdinand IV. of Naples came back as Fer- 
dinand I. of the Two Sicilies, who so ready with 
protestations of service as Don Luigi Gentili ? 
And each Government in turn seems to have 
accepted his services, and paid for them too ! 
The Government registers revealed this fact 
on inspection. 


Most extraordinary papers they were [says General 
Church]. Long lists of the most respectable people of 
the neighbourhood were found, denouncing them as 
favourers of first one party, then another, year by year, 
month by month ; and subjoined were the punishments 
inflicted shooting, fines, imprisonment for years and 
the records of money received, from whichever Govern- 
ment was in power, for information given. His own 
receipts, in his own handwriting, bore witness against 
him. More than a hundred families had suffered from 
the infernal calumnies of this wretch ! 

Don Gentili was a great ally of the inten- 
dente of Lecce, a timid man, and no friend 
to General Church, who got him displaced 
and recalled to Naples ; also he was a member 
of half-a-dozen secret societies, which would 
account for the respect shown to him by the 
same intendente and other authorities. Some 
time before this date, when the General first 
came to visit Lecce, Gentili had tried to stir 
up the people to attack the troops on their 
way from one city to another, thus, as he 
put it, "freeing the country, driving back 
the foreigner, and establishing the Salentine 
Republic." The idea was responded to with 
acclamation, and a body of armed citizens 
were placed in ambush on the Bari road, the 
day the General was expected to enter Lecce. 
Perhaps it was as well for them that he hap- 
pened to come in by a different road, so no 


harm was done ! Then Don Gentili went off 
to the authorities and denounced several people 
as having been concerned in a plot to attack 
the royal troops and was duly paid for the 
information by the Government. 

" The fellow deserves hanging," said the 
General, pulling his moustache, and pacing 
the room perplexedly, as he listened to all 
these details. " Yes, the world would be well 
rid of him, no doubt. But then, there are 
probably half a dozen nearly as bad ; and he 
has a wife, you say, and a whole tribe of 
children. What is to become of them ? Can't 
we keep him out of doing any more mischief 
without going to extremities ? If I send him 
before the court he is doomed. Suppose he 
is banished, and put under surveillance for the 
present, so as to give him a chance of mending 
his ways ? " So Don Luigi Gentili was sent 
to Barletta, out of his own province, and with 
stern warnings and threatenings if he should 
venture to leave the place without express 
permission from headquarters ; and for a short 
time he kept quiet enough. But he had a 
friend in the displaced intendente of Lecce, 
the Marchese Pietracatella, now living at 
Naples, and brooding over his displacement, 
which he set down as the work of the meddle- 
some Englishman. 


One fine day King Ferdinand, in his state 
carriage, was taking his usual drive along the 
Chiaja. The four fat horses pranced solemnly 
along, conducted by the gorgeous coachman in 
royal livery. The lazy, good-humoured, self- 
indulgent king sleepily returned the saluta- 
tions of passers-by. The sky was blue, the 
sea was blue, the air was golden, dazzling ; 
early summer made the Chiaja of Naples into 
an earthly paradise ; bright-eyed, bare-legged 
boys played moro, sellers of macaroni and 
lemonade cried their wares at every corner, 
flower-girls showed their white teeth in ready 
smiles when likely customers came by all 
was pleasure, ease, light, colour, movement, 
amusement. Suddenly King Ferdinand rubbed 
his eyes; a respectable -looking man, dressed 
in black, darted forwards, seized the handle 
of the carriage-door with one hand, and waved 
a paper with the other, wildly gesticulating 
and exclaiming, " Giustizia, Maesta giustizia, 
giustizia!" The carriage was stopped. The 
king ordered a lackey to open the door. He 
was fond of posing as the father of his people, 
when it did not entail too much trouble ; and 
in his best "Re dilazzaroni" manner, "JZbbene, 
amico" he said, " che volete ? Parlate, parlate" 

Upon this Gentili fell upon his knees, seizing 
the king's hand and kissing it effusively, while 


he poured forth most lamentable complaints 
against General Giorgio, who was persecuting 
an unfortunate gentleman of Lecce to death ! 
The king shook his head at this. " How ? 
how ? Persecuted by Giorgio ! Can't believe 
it ; can't believe it. I know Giorgio well 
too well to believe that he would persecute 
one of my people ! " Gentili, still on his 
knees, swore by everything in heaven and 
earth that he spoke the bare truth, and that 
he and his innocent family would die of want 
unless his majesty would interfere to protect 
them from this grasping foreigner. " Well, 
well," said the king, " give me your paper ; 
the matter shall be seen to ; " and taking the 
petition, Ferdinand ordered the lackey to shut 
the door, and the carriage drove away, leaving 
Gentili, with clasped hands, invoking blessings 
011 the head of the father of his people. 

A few days later the petition reached General 
Church, having been forwarded to him by the 
Minister of Justice, Tommasi, and accompanied 
by a request that he would explain what it all 
meant. The General's reply is characteristic. 

I am not a little surprised [he says] at hearing from 
your Excellency that Don Luigi Gentili is at Naples, 
he having been placed by my orders at Barletta, under 
surveillance. I shall be happy to give your Excellency 
information about the man when I hear that he has 


returned to Barletta. Till then you will, I ain sure, 
understand that to do so would derogate from the 
respect due to the alter ego with which his Majesty has 
invested me. 

On the next Council day the king inquired 
what reply had been received from General 
Giorgio, and the letter was produced and read 
aloud. " Let me read it myself," said Fer- 
dinand ; and having done so, he threw it on 
the table, and a frown gathered on the royal 
brow. The white-haired Marchese Circatella 
next took it up, put on his spectacles, read 
it through, and put it down in silence. Then 
the Cavaliere Luigi di Medici took the missive, 
read it aloud, glanced at his companions, and 
observed deferentially, "It is very well written, 
sire ! " and the others chimed in assenting to 
this fact, though observing that perhaps the 
General was a little a little the English 
were a stiff-necked race ! Doubtless he might 
have replied differently, since the query was 
made in his Majesty's behalf, yet " Yet, 
knowing the General as I do," quoth old 
Circatella, " I say, depend upon it he won't 
give in ! " 

" And after all, he has right on his side," put 
in De Medici. 

The king's little fit of temper had gone by ; 
he laughed and rubbed his hands in easy-going 


fashion. " What a fuss about nothing ! What 
have you to say, Tommasi ? " 

" I say, your Majesty, that the General 
saved Apulia." 

"Yes, yes, quite true. I know I owe him 
half my kingdom ; but he might have sent 
me an answer." 

" The English are fierce and intractable, but 
they are honourable, and hold fast to their 
friends," said the old Marchese. 

" Well, well, we have had enough of it," 
said the king. " Tommasi had better write 
and tell Giorgio I never doubted he had done 
right about that fellow. I only asked for in- 

So Tommasi wrote again, but to no purpose. 
Naturally General Church felt that he, being 
on the spot, knew a great deal more of the 
intrigues and malpractices which had been 
going on for years than did the Government 
at Naples. Besides, he felt the necessity for 
making his authority felt, so he replied thus : 

I beg to inform your Excellency that I am perfectly 
well aware that it was his Majesty who required infor- 
mation ; but no information can be obtained from me 
till Gentili is sent back to Barletta. What will people 
think if a person of Gentili's character can set at de- 
fiance the authority of the Crown ? It would be no 
less, since the alter ego was intrusted to me by his 
Majesty himself. I think your Excellency will see that 


either this man must leave Naples, or I must beg leave 
to resign the command with which I am at present 

This settled the matter, and a few days 
later the General received an official despatch 
informing him that Gentili had been sent back 
to Barletta, and also the following letter from 
Prince Zurlo : 

CARO AMICO, I congratulate you. Your firmness 
has broken up the plot. This affects the security of 
every household in the province, for those who have 
been injured by this infamous man will now venture to 
witness against him. 

As to Don Luigi Gentili, he had better have 
trusted to the General's clemency, and kept 
quiet in his banishment, for now he was handed 
over to the royal courts of Naples, and sent to 
the galleys for ten years. 

The second story relates the fate of Maestro 
Longo, tailor and citizen of Lecce, a very 
good tailor, but a very bad citizen ! It was 
an evil day for Maestro Longo when he dropped 
the tape and scissors and took to politics, 
attended meetings of the secret societies, and 
stuck a stiletto in his belt. He never mur- 
dered anybody, but he talked as if he were 
ready to slay the whole Government ! He 
had a ready tongue, and loved to use it in 


furious declamation. The applause of the 
rabble was sweet to him, and much more 
sweet the feeling that his betters were afraid 
of him. So he talked mysteriously in corners, 
gave it to be understood that he was on in- 
timate terms with the chiefs of banditti, was 
always a principal speaker at patriotic meet- 
ings, gave weekly receptions at Lecce, and 
insisted on the young gentlemen of the place 
attending them, if they valued their safety ; 
and it shows how great was the fear caused 
by these secret societies that his noble cus- 
tomers dared not disobey his mandate ! The 
then intendente was a special patron of the 
tailor, and fed his arrogance by treating him 
familiarly, until Maestro Longo gave himself 
airs as the most important person in the town. 

But this glory ended when General Church 
took up his quarters at Lecce. His coming 
was heralded by a grand ball, where Maestro 
Longo appeared, swaggering among the best ; 
but, alas ! times had changed, and before long 
he found himself taken up by a couple of 
tall youths, and fairly tossed out of window 
by which means the poor little man broke 
his arm. 

" It would be quite a pity to harm the 
fellow. We must teach him to attend to his 
trade," said General Church to a group of 


young gentlemen of Lecce, who were paying 
their respects. " He is a good tailor, is he 

"None better, your Excellency. Did your 
Excellency ever hear of the tailor and the 
marchese's pantaloons ? No ? Then, con ris- 
petto, you must know that the Marchese 
Pietracatella one day sent for his friend 
Maestro Longo, who arrived with scissors and 
tape to take his patron's order, and found 
that patron lying on his bed, much in need 
of some new diversion. * Have you ever seen 
me dance ? ' said the marquis. ' It is some- 
thing worth seeing, my friend. I believe I 
could dance down any man in the Two Sicilies.' 
And springing off his bed, he began a tarantella 
to his own whistling, snapping his fingers, 
springing half-way to the ceiling, whisking 
round faster and faster, until at last he sank 
panting on a chair. ' Give me one minute 
to recover my breath, Longo/ said he, 'and 
then you shall measure me for a pair of pan- 
taloons.' ' Certainly,' said the tailor ; ' but 
first it is my turn. I have waited for your 
Excellency it is only fair that you should 
wait for me ; and, in truth, I flatter myself 
I can do better than that ! ' So he began to 
dance, and went on dancing as if he was be- 
witched ! The marchese begged him to stop, 


ordered him to stop, stamped, swore, threat- 
ened : still the tailor danced on to his own 
whistling, serenely ignoring his patron's anger, 
until in despair Pietracatella called his ser- 
vants to put the fellow out. But for months 
after the marchese had to wear his old clothes, 
for the angry tailor flatly refused to make him 
new ones, and the other tailors of the town 
dared not disoblige Maestro Longo ! " 

" Look here, gentlemen," said the General, 
when he had done laughing. " I have deter- 
mined to give a ball at my house every Mon- 
day during my stay here. I am afraid I am 
really very much afraid that this will clash 
with the weekly ball which I understand is 
given by Maestro Longo. But pray observe 
that you are perfectly at liberty to take your 
choice and go where you will. I would not 
interfere with the tailor for worlds ! Only, 
unhappily, it will be quite impossible for 
you to be in two places at once, and you will 
clearly understand that it is at your own choice 
to attend one or the other not both." 

The young men looked at one another, 
laughed, and declared that they had not the 
least intention of entering Maestro Longo's 
house in future except as customers, but they 
hoped to attend the General's receptions. 

The next day the tailor received a summons 


to wait on the General. Softly and sadly he 
went, with his arm in a sling, and meekly he 
sat in the anteroom for a considerable time 
before he was admitted to the great man's 
presence. The General fixed his keen blue 
eyes on the round, little, black-eyed person, 
who fidgeted and bowed nervously, and ex- 
pressed his desire to serve his Excellency. 

" Measure me for a coat, signore sarto, if you 
please," said General Church. 

" Uniform or plain ? But pardon me, your 
Excellency, I have not brought my measure. 
With permission, I will run and fetch it, 
though indeed " and he shook his head 
mournfully and looked at his arm "an acci- 
dent, your Excellency. Poco, poco, but for 
the moment it causes me difficulty." 

"No hurry, Maestro Longo. Let us talk 
of something else. Though you have never 
worked for me, I have a pretty long account 
to settle with you, I find," said the General, 
locking the door as he spoke, and seating him- 
self in an old-fashioned arm-chair. The tailor's 
ruddy face grew pale, and his teeth positively 
chattered. Down he went on his knees, pro- 
testing that he was a guiltless man, a good 

" I believe, as far as I know, you have never 
committed a murder ; so much the better for 


you," said the General. " Get up. Now tell 
the truth, for you will gain nothing by lying." 

"It is true that I have been guilty ; but I 
will tell your Excellency all. I throw myself 
on your Excellency's mercy," gasped the poor 
little man. 

" Good, so far. Get up, and answer my 
questions. And mind, you must alter your 
ways, if you don't want to spend some years in 
the galleys. You have become uncommonly 
expert of late with the small sword, I hear. 
How many stilettoes have you on your pre- 
mises ? " 

" Oh, your Excellency knows everything ! 
Pardon, pardon, and my life shall be devoted 
to serve you." 

" Look here, my friend. I happen to know 
that you have the diplomas of the Filadelfi and 
the Patrioti Europei. Lucky for you that you 
have had nothing to do with the Decisi ! Now, 
how many men have you in your squadron of 

" Sixty, Signore Generale." 

11 All armed ? " 

" Si, signore." 

" How many altogether in Lecce ? " 

"About 300." 

"All armed?" 

" But no, signore, only about half." 


" Any assassins among them ? " 

" Not to my knowledge, signore." 

" Under what supreme authority do you, or 
rather did you, act ? " 

" Under the Salentine Eepublic." 

" Your own rank ? " 

" Prefect of the city of Lecce. Your Excel - 
ency knows that it is the same as intendente." 

" Have you a diploma as prefect ? " 

" Si, Signore Generate." 

" What do you aim at ? " 

" Equality, your Excellency. No man to 
have more land than another." 

"Very good. And now, signore sarto" 
the General's eyes twinkled in spite of himself, 
" pray, what was your fancy for giving those 
weekly balls ? " 

Poor Maestro Longo hung his head, and 
looked like a boy caught in an apple-tree and 
brought face to face with the headmaster. He 
cast piteous looks at the General, and stam- 
mered out, " I I wanted to to break the 
pride of the gentry, Signore Generate" 

" And did many of them come to your balls ? " 

" A good many, especially that is " 

" Well, go on. Especially ? " 

" When the invitations were signed by me 
with four dots after 

" Four dots ! What does this mean ? " 


" They were bound to comply else " 

" Speak out, man ; else what ? " 

In a very low voice, and with eyes fixed on 
the ground, the tailor finished his sentence. 
" It meant that they would die, your Ex- 

There was a pause, long enough for the last 
remains of courage to ooze out of the tips of 
the poor tailor's fingers. He stood, limp, pale, 
and shaking, with the feeling that two stern 
eyes were fixed upon him, that lies were of no 
avail, and that O heavens ! if he should have 
to leave his pleasant house, his admiring 
friends, his chats on the Piazza, his speechify - 
ings at meetings, for the galleys ! Presently 
the questions began again. 

" Who paid the expenses of these balls ? " 

" The Government, Sign/ore Generate that 
is, the Salentine Republic. The money was 
raised by by forced contributions." 

" Did you collect the money ? " 

" Per Dio, no, no, no, your Excellency ! I 
had nothing to do with it, and it went to the 

" Where is your muster-roll ? " 

" In a priest's house in Surbo." 

" Is Major Farini your superior ? " 

" In the military line, si, signore. I am the 
superior in the civil line." 


" How many officers of the Reale Corona 
Regiment belong to you ? " 

" Twelve or fourteen." 

" Any other regiment ? " 

" Not to my knowledge, your Excellency." 

" Now, Maestro Longo, attend to me. Can I 
depend on your good conduct in future ? " 

" Oh, your Excellency, pardon me, save me ! 
I swear you shall have no cause of complaint 
against me ! " 

" Will you go back to your tailoring, and 
keep your fellows to their proper work ? " 

" SI, si, signore." 

" Will you go round to all the gentlemen 
you have insulted, and ask pardon, one by one, 
for your former insolence ? " 

" I will, signore, I will, and gladly 1 " 

" Will you give your associates clearly to 
understand that these secret societies must be 
broken up ? " 

" They are so already, your Excellency ; and 
in truth the majority of the people are delighted 
at it, and feel safe under your Excellency's 

" And are you of that opinion ? " 

" Ah, signore, I am a reformed man ! I am 
yours for the rest of my life." 

" If that is so, you need fear nothing for the 
past, and I am sure you will find tailoring a 


much more profitable trade than sword-exer- 
cise. But you must hand over all your wea- 
pons to Colonel Bentz, and all your papers 
to me." 

" Per I' amor di Dio ! but there is enough to 
hang us a]l ! " 

" Signore sarto, you will please to understand 
that I am not admitting you to a capitulation. 
I am giving you commands, which you will 
disobey at your peril." 

Poor Maestro Longo was crushed again. 
" Certainly, certainly," he murmured. " My 
life is in your Excellency's hands. I will give 
up all, all. I trust to your Excellency's gen- 

Thereupon the General unlocked the door, 
and desired two officers to go with Maestro 
Longo to his house and seize all his arms and 
papers. It was a wonderful find ! Six hun- 
dred stilettoes, 260 stand of firearms, were 
handed over to the military authorities, and 
Maestro Longo himself brought the papers, 
books, and diplomas ; and what was his joy 
and relief when he saw them blazing in the 
grate, while he, with tape and scissors, was 
employed in measuring the General for two 
new uniform coats and several pairs of pan- 
taloons ! 








Two years later, a family letter from Naples 

says : 

I expect Eichard here in about a month. He has 
been selected by the king for an important commission 
in the island of Sicily, a most honourable and nattering 

A very unfortunate appointment for the Gen- 
eral it turned out, as we shall see ; though at 
the time it was considered a matter of con- 

You speak, my dear General, of returning to England 
[says the Minister De Medici]. You don't expect me 
to agree to that, I hope. You may leave the province 
of Lecce perhaps, but the king counts on you for an- 
other mission. . . . You, who are so attached to the 
king and your other friends, will surely put by the 
thought of going away, out of kindness to both. 


And again : 

You will see in the new commission destined to you 
by his majesty a striking proof of his affection and 
confidence. Let me be the first to congratulate you. 

While Sir William a Court, British Minister to 
the Court at Naples, writes : 

I was very glad to hear from De Medici that you 
were to be sent to assume the command at Palermo. 
It is an honourable thing for you, and I hope will be 
attended with solid advantage. 

When King Ferdinand was in exile in Sicily 
he had been ready to promise anything civil 
liberty, reduced taxation ; had flattered the 
Carbonari, and promised oblivion for all past 
offences against the law ; but at the same time, 
when the Sicilian Parliament refused to give 
him as much money as he asked for, he sold 
the Communal lands ; and when the Parliament 
protested against this infraction of the old 
Sicilian Constitution, he put several of the 
members into prison. When he was brought 
back to his kingdom, " having learnt nothing 
and forgotten nothing," he had a heavy bill 
to pay to his Austrian allies, who had put him 
there, and that of course meant fresh taxation 
to his already overburdened people. " There 
are fresh difficulties at Palermo," writes Sir 
W. a Court , April 1819. "Another regiment 
was sent off in a hurry yesterday. The king's 


journey is postponed sine die. The Hereditary 
Prince returns as Viceroy to Palermo as soon 
as the Emperor [of Austria] is gone." But 
apparently it was thought wiser that the Her- 
editary Prince should keep out of the way ; 
and in the following year General Naselli, a 
Neapolitan, was appointed Lieut. -General of 
Sicily a post equivalent to that of Viceroy 
and General Church to have command of the 
troops. The chestnuts were in the fire, and it 
was convenient that foreign fingers should pull 
them out ! 

General Church pressed for permission to 
take with him his own foreign troops, well 
known and trusty, as he was aware that no 
dependence was to be placed on the Sicilians ; 
but this was not allowed. They were wanted 
at Naples ; but they should be sent, he was 
assured, early in the autumn. Before that 
time the revolution in Sicily was over, and 
the General in prison. 

He reached Palermo July 5, and found " the 
force in Palermo quite insufficient for garrison- 
ing that city, and the discipline of the troops 
lax. No military system whatever, no public 
place of parades, no regular mode of trans- 
mitting orders. The officers always dressed 
in plain clothes, and were scattered in different 
lodgings in and out of the town. Nothing like 



military regularity was to be seen in Palermo. 
A spirit of insubordination reigned in several 
of the corps, and all of them were in some de- 
gree infected with Carbonarism." Palermo was 
crowded for the great national festival, the 
Feast of Santa Rosalia, which lasts, we are 
told, five days ; and just as it began, a despatch 
from Naples brought the news of the revolt 
there, of the new constitution for the kingdom 
of the Two Sicilies. The sailors of the boat 
landed, all with tricolour cockades in their 
hats ; and in a few minutes, as if by magic, 
all the crowd in the streets had mounted the 
tricolour, instead of the royal white ribbon, 
and were cheering for the Constitution, Lib- 
erty, Independence. 

In July 1820, the 'Constitutional Journal' 
of Naples publishes an article giving an account 
of what happened. It laments the excesses 
which took place, but throws all the blame on 
the " foolish and stupid conduct of General 
Church, a stranger to us by birth and feeling, 
who tore from the breast of a peaceful citizen 
the yellow ribbon. The tumult would not have 
occurred but for his folly and imprudence." 

This yellow ribbon was added to the tri- 
colour as the sign of independence. The Gen- 
eral replies : 

It is a fable, an absolute falsity. Never did prudence 


so abandon ine that I should risk my life among the in- 
furiated mob. ... It was my singular fate [he adds, 
evidently smarting under the sense of failure and in- 
justice], that precisely what I did to fulfil my duty is 
imputed to me as a crime, and the pride and honour 
of a soldier cruelly wounded for the first time in my 

And he gives his own account of what took 

At 8 o'clock P.M., July 14, the Viceroy, Gen- 
eral Naselli, sent to General Church with news 
of the revolution and new constitution at Naples. 
" My first act was to tender my resignation to 
the Viceroy, who refused it, begging me not 
to abandon him in so critical a position, until 
the arrival of his successor, General Fardelli, 
who had been appointed by the revolutionary 
Government." General Church consented to 
withdraw his resignation, but begged for de- 
finite orders. Getting none, and finding that 
his officers were " all thunderstruck at the 
prospect of affairs, and indifferent to anything 
but their own safety," he went home, desiring 
Marshal O'Ferris, chief of the staff, to call on 
the Viceroy at six next morning, and request 
definite orders in writing. These proved to 
be "to announce to the troops the king's 
acceptance of the new constitution, and to 
order them to wear the tricolour cockade, as 
worn by his majesty and the royal family." 


The troops were, however, forbidden to add 
the yellow ribbon for the independence of 

The orders were given out, and at 10 A.M. all 
functionaries, military and civil, went in state 
to the Cathedral Church to assist at the great 
national festival of Santa Rosalia. The streets, 
the Piazza, the Cathedral itself, were crowded 
with people wearing the four-coloured ribbon, 
and shouting for liberty and independence, but 
there was no disturbance ; and the service over, 
all went their way, to meet again at the Palace 
of the Senate that evening according to custom, 
and see the fireworks and processions from the 

At first all went well. The Viceroy, the 
generals, the magistrates, and their friends 
chatted together and watched the crowds 
coming and going, with singing and laughter, 
bandying of jests and shouting, under the soft, 
starlit July night. But presently there was a 
rush and a tumult, the crowd swayed and 
parted ; a noisy procession, headed by a num- 
ber of non-commissioned officers and soldiers, 
marched into the Piazza, stopping under the 
palace windows, waving their hats, and shout- 
ing, " Viva I' Independent di Sicilia ! Viva 
la Liberia ! Viva Robespierre ! ". Then they 
marched on, the people following and joining 


in the cry, out into the Cassaro, the principal 
street of Palermo. The Viceroy looked un- 
easy. " This conduct on the part of soldiers 
is infamous ! It will lead to mischief," said 
he, addressing General Church ; and as soon 
as the Piazza was clear, he took leave and 
went home with his guard of honour. Most 
of the other guests slipped away, and Generals 
Church and Coglitore and Lieutenants Quandel 
and De Nitis were left alone. 

General Church proposed to follow the pro- 
cession, and order the soldiers back to barracks. 
General Coglitore demurred to this, as useless 
and dangerous ; but when his friend replied, 
" It can't be helped : it is my duty : we had 
better show the people that we share their 
pleasure," he agreed to the plan, and the four 
soldiers went out together. They reached the 
thronged and brightly lighted Cassaro, and 
found some difficulty in making their way. 
The soldiers had been the instigators of these 
riotous proceedings, and General Church con- 
trived to approach one of the non-commissioned 
officers, and asked him to " tell his comrades 
not to make so much noise, to conduct them- 
selves with more regularity, and when they 
had reached the end of the street to return 
to their quarters ; adding that I had no objec- 
tion to their sharing the general joy 011 the 


last night of the festival, but that the manner 
in which they were acting might lead to dis- 
turbances." This had no effect. The soldiers 
moved on, the crowds closed round, the four 
officers were pushed and hustled, and threat- 
ened with death, unless they would join the 
popular cry. General Church consented to 
cry, "Viva il Re! Viva la Costituzione ! " 
but as to anything else, in spite of General 
Cogli tore's advice, "Jamais!" said the sturdy 
Briton. " Pas un mot ! " 

The tumult rose higher, daggers were brand- 
ished, cries arose of " Down with them ! Death 
to all tyrants ! Kill them ! away with them ! " 
Fortunately General Coglitore's carriage was 
waiting at the entrance of the Piazza, and, 
extricating themselves from the crowd, they 
managed to reach it and jump in, though not 
before General Coglitore had been wounded by 
a dagger, and General Church half stunned by 
a stone. Off they drove, full speed, followed 
by execrations, threats, showers of stones, and 
beating with their swords those who climbed 
upon the carriage. I have before me an old 
print representing the scene : the open carriage, 
the coachman whipping up his horses, the mob 
clinging on or following with brandished dag- 
gers and uplifted stones ; the occupants of the 
carriage in their cocked-hats ; while at a little 


distance stands another carriage-and-pair and 
coachman, with the utmost placidity ! 

After a while they distanced their foes, and 
stopped to hold a consultation. General Cog- 
litore went to his sister's house, promising to 
send disguises to his friends ; but they heard 
no more of him. In fact, he was forced to 
remain in hiding for several days, and could 
do nothing for them. They were close to a 
small fort, and a house by the roadside was 
inhabited by an artilleryman. Lieutenant De 
Nitis borrowed this man's clothes and went to 
Palermo. Church and Quandel took refuge in 
the fort, which stood on a rising ground, above 
the sea, and consisted of a loopholed wall, and 
open - rail gate, without even a lock. The 
artilleryman stood sentinel, and the officers, 
still in dress costume, took shelter within. 

So the night passed, and the summer morn- 
ing broke blue and golden. People began to 
pass to their business, singing and whistling ; 
fishing-boats came out from the neighbouring 
villages, but would not come near, in spite of 
signals, for fear of the Sanita (health officer). 
Groups came from Palermo, and the fugitives 
could hear them shouting information about 
what happened in the town, and threats as to 
what they would do to General Giorgio when 
they caught him. Once some lads ran up the 


slope, looking everywhere round the battery, 
but not into it. The two officers gave them- 
selves up for lost, and determined to sell their 
lives dearly. They crouched close to the wall ; 
and after a good deal of shouting to a group of 
men on the road below, the lads ran away, and 
the fugitives could breathe again. At last an 
officer in plain clothes came to them, saying 
that a gunboat, sent by General Naselli, was 
on its way to rescue them. It soon appeared 
but dared not land, for a throng of people 
assembled on the shore, evidently watching its 
movements. At that moment, most fortunate- 
ly, a little fishing-skiff slowly passed beneath 
the rock on which the fort was built, and 
immediately the two officers sprang over the 
parapet and into the boat, " much to the terror 
of the poor fisherman, whom we obliged to row 
us to the gunboat, where we found De Nitis 
awaiting us." 

The gunboat carried the Viceroy's orders 
that General Church should be taken to 
Trapani. The General, on the contrary, 
wished to return to Palermo, and try his 
authority with the troops there. He persuaded 
Captain La Rocca to wait a while, and sent 
letters by a sailor to General Naselli ; but the 
man came back, reporting that the troops had 
fraternised with the populace, that he had had 


great difficulty in gaming admittance to the 
palace, and that the Viceroy had ordered him 
to go back at once and tell General Church 
that it was impossible for him to write, and 
that the gunboat must instantly proceed to 

" The man is quite right, General," said De 
Nit is, in French ; "I was in the town this morn- 
ing, and the people were in a state of fury. It 
is useless to expect any help from the troops ; 
there is no confidence to be placed in them. 
They would have given you up to the mob, had 
you been in Palermo." 

Meanwhile the sailors were getting up the 
anchor and putting out to sea ; whereat Gen- 
eral Church seems to have lost his temper, and 
rated the captain soundly, calling him a traitor, 
and declaring that he meant to throw the 
fugitives into the sea. 

" I am not a traitor, General," said Captain 
La Eocca ; "I am your friend. I dare not 
disobey my orders, which are to go to Tra- 
pani ; and I can give you no better proof of my 
fidelity than the assurance that I and my crew 
have left our wives and families in Palermo, in 
danger of being murdered, in order to save 
your life ! " 

So to Trapani they went, but found no 
welcome there. The 'commandant told them 


that the soldiers openly declared their intention 
of deserting as soon as they got outside their 
barracks, that the officers had set free and 
brought into their vendita (club) certain Car- 
bonari from the province of Lecce who had been 
condemned for murder by the Military Com- 
mission there of two years ago, and whom " the 
misguided clemency of the Government " had 
exiled to Sicily. They sailed on to Marsala, 
where they were most hospitably received by a 
Mr Wodehouse, who had a house near the sea, 
on the outskirts of the town. He ordered wine, 
and food, and ammunition to be got ready for 
provisioning their boat, and brought them all 
home to dine with him, assuring them they 
need fear nothing either for themselves or for 
him : for, in the first plac.e, the people of Mar- 
sala owed him too much to wish to offend him ; 
and in the second, he had workmen enough to 
defend his house against the whole population ! 
He wanted them to remain with him a day or 
two ; but before dinner was over, a messenger 
from Palermo brought the news that the galley- 
slaves had been set free, and that the troops 
had quarrelled with the people, and were fight- 
ing them in the streets. Upon this the Gen- 
eral thought he saw a chance of recalling the 
soldiers to their allegiance, and, in spite of all 
remonstrance, insisted upon hurrying off with 


the gunboat in the direction of Palermo. This 
was on the evening of the 17th July. 

On the way they called at Trapani, but 
were received with threats that the fort 
would fire on the gunboat if she canae closer. 
So they went on their way, till at dawn they 
came to the point of S. Vito. Here were three 
gunboats and an armed boat at anchor. 
Quandel was sent to parley with them, and 
returned with the captain, who, in answer to 
the usual inquiry how things were going at 
Palermo, said all was lost. The galley-slaves 
were let loose, the Viceroy had fled, the Paler- 
mitans had armed a number of boats, and no 
one was allowed to land. Then, turning to 
Captain La Rocca, " Your boat is under my 
orders," said he. 

" I was under your orders," was the answer ; 
" but having been sent on a special service by 
the Viceroy and General Staiti, I can obey no 
orders but theirs, or those of his Excellency 
here, for whose safety I am answerable." 

The other captain scowled at this reply, and 
getting into his little boat, took a hasty leave 
and returned to his gunboat. 

" I don't like his manner," said La Rocca, 
" and those sailors are mostly Palermitans. 
We are much better without them." 

While they were discussing what was best 


to be done, they suddenly observed that the 
gunboats had left their moorings, and were 
approaching them in fact, were but forty 
yards away. The sailors seized their oars, 
muttering Tradimento, and began to row as 
hard as they could. The other side shouted to 
them to stop, or every one of them should be cut 
to pieces ; but the brave fellows took no notice 
of the threats. They were outnumbered three 
to one, says the General : no blame could be 
attached to them if they yielded to so superior 
a force, and to give up their stranger guests 
would ensure them personal safety and large 
rewards. However, they entered into the race 
gleefully, shouting defiance at their pursuers, 
while every epithet that Sicilian wit or rage 
could invent was bandied from one to the other. 
" Trust us," they cried, in answer to the Gen- 
eral's words of encouragement ; " those are 
rascals, traitors, Carbonari ! We have better 
hearts, and God will be on our side. We will 
sooner die than give you up ; " and they rowed 
with all their might out of the line of fire, for 
they had no idea that their foes happened to be 
short of ammunition. 

It had been a perfectly still morning, hot and 
clear as July should be, but very exhausting 
for the oarsmen ; and now a breeze sprang up, 
and they hoisted their sails, cheerily exclaiming 


that theirs was the fastest sailing-boat in Sicily, 
and that they should soon leave the others be- 
hind. So it proved and after three hours' 
chase the enemies slackened sail, gave up, and 
returned home, and with great joy Captain La 
Rocca and his men refreshed themselves with 
Mr Wodehouse's excellent wine ; then came 
thanks and mutual congratulations, and a few 
hours of much-needed sleep. 

On July 23 they reached Naples, entering 
the Mola with the king's colours flying from 
the mast. What did they find ? 

The Government overturned, the king and prince pris- 
oners in their palace, the tricolour flag waving every- 
where. Our boat was boarded by officers of the port, 
and the king's colours struck by them. An immense 
mob was collected on the Mola, exceedingly attentive to 
everything going on in the port, and apparently direct- 
ing all the movements there. An awning over our boat 
(the sun being very hot) fortunately kept the persons in 
her from being easily seen. In an hour Major Staiti 
came with orders to confine me in the Castel dell' Ovo, 
to which I was conveyed by water. 

There he remained four months, no charge being 
preferred against him. 

I admire the spirit of rectitude which brought you here 
[writes Sir W. a Court], and lament your imprudence in 
committing yourself into your enemies' hands. In 
revolutionary times the spirit of reason and justice is 
hushed. Why did you not go on board the English 


frigate in the bay ? How can I serve you ? I have no 
power or influence now. I am assured you are in per- 
sonal safety ; but is the present Government master of 
the country ? 

And again : 

The Parliament is composed of a set of Carbonari, 
over whom neither the prince nor his ministers have 
any more influence than you or I. I know not what 
advice to give you. It appears to me that you are 
more closely watched than formerly. I was myself 
stopped by the sentinel the other day, and only released 
by the sergeant. It is an infamous business altogether. 
Campochiaro himself says he is ashamed of it. 

In September a protest, signed by nineteen 
English nobles and gentry resident at Naples, 
entreats Sir W. a Court, as accredited Minister 
of England, to obtain the liberation of their 
fellow-countryman, who has been in prison 
nine weeks without any accusation of any sort 
being brought against him. This, they say, is 
" an act of injustice on the part of the Govern- 
ment of a kingdom to whose prosperity General 
Church is universally admitted to have essen- 
tially contributed. The steady principles of 
loyalty and honour which have distinguished 
him ; his tried firmness and moderation upon 
all occasions, especially in the late commotions 
in Sicily ; his watchful attention over the tran- 
quillity of the provinces under his command ; 
the successful measures he adopted to suppress 


a system of defalcation in the public revenues, 
claim respect from every candid mind, and 
the peculiar hardship of his case calls in the 
strongest manner for the support and protection 
of his country." This protest was forwarded, 
accompanied by a protest from Sir W. a Court 
himself, in which he points out that though a 
Commission had been appointed to inquire into 
the affair, nothing had been done. And in the 
month of November a family letter says : 

Richard is still in prison, though his liberation or trial 
has been demanded officially and unofficially. The 
Commission appointed last August of ten civil judges 
and ten generals gave no opinion. The Committee 
appointed by Parliament declared that he had done his 
duty ; yet he remains in prison. He bears his change 
of circumstances with great philosophy. He lost every- 
thing at Palermo furniture, books, papers, &c. but 
the Government refuse even to give him his pay ; 
besides, he has incurred a debt of 3000 in providing 
clothes, &c., for his troops. 

The fact was, the Carbonari ruled in Naples, 
and the Government was powerless. A letter 
(undated, but evidently of this time) from Sir 
W. a Court says : 

Your affair, you may depend on it, is drawing to a close 
that is to say, if the Carbonari do not overpower the 
Government and the well-meaning part of the com- 
munity to prevent your release. Campochiaro has 
promised to demand an interview with the Deputies 
expressly for this purpose. 


At last he was released, and the story may 
wind up with a letter from Frederick, Duke of 
York, and Commander-in-Chief, dated March 

7, 1822: 

On the 3d instant I received with great satisfaction 
your letter with its enclosures, and I lose no time in 
congratulating you upon the result of an investigation 
which, if correctly conducted, could indeed be no other 
than honourable to you, and such as would do justice 
to the spirit and zeal with which you had discharged 
your duty under very trying circumstances. I never 
doubted that your conduct had on this occasion been 
consistent with the character which you have always 

Thus end some stirring chapters in the life 
of General Church, perhaps a dull ending to 
a dashing beginning. Still, his life did not 
end with these adventurous episodes. Greece, 
which had attracted him in early years, held 
his heart to the last. He fought for her 
through the war which gave her independence, 
and spent the remaining years of his life in 




A VISIT to Athens in 1893 revived the mem- 
ories of early days in Greece, which have been 
a "fount of joy" amid the occupations of later 

I saw then for the first time the grave and 
monument of General Church in the cypress- 
grove of the Greek cemetery above the Ilissus. 

The monument raised by the Greek people 
bears an inscription which is a simple and 
truthful record of his life in Greece. He 
"lived for her service and died amongst her 

For forty - six years Sir Richard Church 
lived in Greece, leaving it only once on a 
visit to Constantinople in 1838. After the 
War of Independence he had settled down in 
Athens in the same house in which he died 
in 1873. It was a house of the older town, 



clinging to the roots of the rock of the Acro- 
polis on its north-eastern side. Once belong- 
ing to a Turk, it had been adapted to modern 
use by its purchaser, Mr Finlay, in the first 
days of liberated Athens. 

The semi-Eastern character was still kept 
up. A square tower of thick walls and small 
windows, strong to stand an earthquake or a 
siege, overlooked a large enclosed courtyard 
in which cypress- trees flanked the entrance 
from the street, and outer stairs led up to 
a gallery from which the dwelling - rooms 
opened. Above it rude houses in tortuous 
lanes and the cupola of a Byzantine church 
climbed up the rocky slope, and the great rock, 
crowned by the wall of the Acropolis, over- 
shadowed all. 

Here he was living when I first saw him in 
1848. He was then an erect and vigorous 
man of sixty-five, with grey hair and small 
moustache, high forehead, a bright upward 
look from keen blue eyes. Cordial but stately 
in manner, dressed with careful neatness, he 
gave the impression of the refined English 
gentleman or diplomatist, rather than of the 
adventurous soldier who had gone through 
such rude experiences in Greek guerilla war- 

Since the days of the Apulian Tales and the 


Neapolitan Revolution he had seen and suffered 

The life in Greece was the sequel to that 
romantic career which had closed in Italy in 

Letters to his brother in 1822 connect the 
earlier and later chapters of his life, and 
describe the feelings and circumstances under 
which Greece became the scene of his later 

The brothers were deeply attached to one 
another, and the elder had generously assisted 
his younger brother with money at the time 
of his losses by the Neapolitan revolution. 

He writes from Florence in September 
1822 :- 

You ask me what I have on my mind. I will tell 
you as far as I can the future of my course. My first 
effort shall be by every means in my power to acquit 
myself of the vast obligations I am under to you. It 
must not, however, alarm you if you perceive with 
what constancy my mind follows the prospect of going 
to Greece. So deeply is this impulse rooted in my 
mind that I really believe that death alone can eradi- 
cate it, and what I have suffered by the postponement 
of it is neither to be described nor conceived, except 
by those who are conscious of a superior calling, and 
have conquered difficulties and carried their destinies 
into effect. 

His purpose had long been formed. He 


recalls his formation of the Greek regiments 
in the Ionian Islands in 1811-14, recruited in 
Greece, and disciplined by himself : 

I disciplined them a new event among Greeks, to 
which they had refused to submit either from the 
Venetians, the French, or the Russians. A spirit of 
liberty rose naturally in the breasts of these soldiers, 
encouraged by the British protection and service, and 
these men returned to their country full of the desire 
to exercise the discipline thej had acquired in the 
English service, for the liberation of their own country. 

When in Apulia I formed a Greek regiment for the 
Neapolitan service, not only as a corps highly useful to 
the Government, but in order to keep up communica- 
tion with Greece, and to continue the system of discip- 
lining the Greeks and Albanians as much as possible 
towards the great work I had in view. 

He concludes : 

I am no adventurer or buccaneer: to go to Greece 
I must make heavy sacrifices must give up my posi- 
tion in the English service, and my commission as 
lieut. - general of the King of Naples, besides those 
prospects of home and rank, perhaps of wealth, cer- 
tainly of comfort. I am willing to give up the reality 
or the prospect of these advantages. I feel that the 
glorious enterprise in a just cause has more attractions 
for me than these pleasurable enjoyments. You will 
call me a fanatic, an enthusiast, or a fool. I will allow 
that I am an enthusiast, in loving so glorious a cause, 
and in being ready to affront the dangers and difficul- 
ties attendant upon it. 

But his brother could not then enter into 


his exalted state of mind, and opposed his 

Full of these ideas, he went to England in 
1823 to ascertain the state of feeling in Eng- 
land towards the Greek cause. In England 
strong sympathy was being felt with this first 
uprising of national spirit, the struggle of a 
Christian race against the long tyranny of the 
Turks. He met with men with whom he had 
made friends abroad Lord Exmouth, Hudson 
Lowe, Lord Guildford, Colonel Leake. Among 
his intimate friends were Stratford Canning 1 
and David Morier, first met at Constantinople 
in 1811, and afterwards at the Congress of 
Vienna, with both of whom he kept up an 
affectionate friendship through life. 2 He was 
in communication with George Canning, then 
Prime Minister, and with other influential men, 
on projects for assisting the Greeks. 

In 1826 he married a sister of Sir Robert 
Wilmot Horton, 3 then Under - Secretary for 
the Colonies in Mr Canning's Ministry. She 
entered into his feelings for Greece, and en- 

1 Among the letters between Canning and himself are some in 
verse, dated 1815, and again 1853. 

2 Among his letters of 1825 is an invitation from Sir T. D. 
Acland to meet friends at breakfast " all Grecians, mostly 
Congressers " naming especially S. Canning, D. Morier, Gaily 

3 Afterwards Governor of Ceylon. 


couraged him in his enterprise, little knowing 
what would be the cost of the sacrifice for 
both. In the first years of peace in Greece 
she joined him at Athens, until, struck down 
by Greek fever, she was ordered to England, 
and remained there a sufferer to the end of 
her life. 

At last, steadfast to his purpose, he sailed 
from Leghorn for Greece, and arrived there in 
March 1827. It was apparently a desperate 
and quixotic enterprise on which he had em- 
barked when he was sworn " on cross and 
sword," in the orange-grove of Troezene, on 
Easter-Day, April 25, as General of the Greek 
land forces. He brought with him nothing 
but his name, his sword, and his enthusiasm. 
He told the Greeks that he had no money, and 
he made no terms for himself. The Greeks 
whom he was to lead were needy and undis- 
ciplined clansmen of chieftains jealous of one 
another, divided into two Assemblies quarrel- 
ling almost to civil war, with no government, 
no plan of action, no money or material of 

Messolonghi had fallen, Northern Greece had 
submitted to the Turks, and the Greeks who 
were still in arms were clinging to the eastern 
fringe of the Morea, threatened with extermin- 
ation by the junction of the Egyptians ravag- 


ing the Morea, and the Turkish army before 

A friend alike to Church and to the Greeks, 
who knew the situation and was a man of cool 
judgment, Captain Hamilton, long time Com- 
modore on the station, saw the generosity but 
the madness of Church's action, and tried to 
save him from the sacrifice. Writing to Strat- 
ford Canning at Constantinople, he said : 

Church is here : he certainly is a fine fellow, but a 
complete Irishman, with their great virtues and little 
faults. I am sorry for his sake he has come. 

To Church himself he wrote : 

I advise you to refuse any command. It is evident 
that there is not any energy in the country against the 
present danger. I give you my opinion ; your own feel- 
ings may prevent you from attending to it. 1 

But Church had made up his mind. The 
one condition he demanded before he would 
take any part was the union of the two factions 
in one National Assembly. " He did what no 
one else could have done," said one, writing at 
the time. 

Very soon he had bitter experience of the 
difficulties of his position. 

Within ten days of his appointment a crush- 
ing defeat and massacre of the Greeks before 

1 Captain Hamilton's letter, March 1827. 


Athens was the result of false intelligence, 
divided counsels, and incapacity for any com- 
bined action by the undisciplined Greeks. His 
coolness, energy, and determination alone 
saved the Greeks from despair and complete 
abandonment of the camp. He gathered a 
remnant of the panic-stricken crowd round 
him on the Munychium hill, and held the 
position for three weeks in face of the Turks 
swarming around them, though in want of 
shelter, provisions, and money ; and he brought 
them off at last without loss to Salamis, and 
formed a camp on Mount Geraneion. The 
diary of an aide-de-camp 1 describes scenes on 
the days succeeding the battle : 

May 7. The camp a scene of tumult and confusion. 
Yells and shrieks and rejoicings of the Turks, accom- 
panied by constant firing, lasted without interruption 
during the night. From Athens the whole plain to the 
foot of the Munychium was a blaze of light. Desertions 
in boats were hourly taking place through the day. 
The General posted a guard off the point of land near 
the " tomb of Themistocles," from whence the desertions 
chiefly take place. Lord Cochrane sailed away with 
the whole of his fleet last night. 

May 8. Fighting along the whole line. Turks 
attacking advanced posts and driving them in. The 
General shortening the lines of defence and concen- 
trating on the Munychium. Panic among the Greeks. 

1 Diary by Major OTallon, A.D.C. to Sir R. Church from 
April 1 to May 25, 1827. 


May 9. Troops murmuring and discontented. No- 
thing but the invincible firmness and patience of the 
General could keep them in the position. 

The relations between the General and his 
Greek soldiery were peculiar. On the first 
morning he called the " generals " around him, 
and through his Greek aide-de-camp and inter- 
preter he told them his determination to hold 
the hill. A Greek letter, written on a dirty 
bit of coarse yellow paper (now before me), was 
the answer of the Greek "generals" : 

has decided not to remain any longer in the position ; 
therefore we beg of you to have the boats ready to 
embark us. 

(Signed) THE CAMP (o\ov TO 

His answer is characteristic. He sent the 
boats away for supplies, and wrote : 


I thought when I saw and spoke to you yesterday 
that I had made an impression on your minds ; but if 
you are determined to destroy yourselves and your 
soldiers, whom you have encouraged in this disgraceful 
and seditious conduct, be it so ! let every one go who is 
afraid to stay in the camp ; but understand that I will 
not leave it until, and how, I can do so with honour, 
and I am sure some brave men will remain with me 
for the honour of your country. Look to your posts 
and fear nothing. 

They agreed to stay for three days. Finally, 


in spite of numerous desertions, he retained the 
best of the men Roumeliots chiefly until he 
had taken measures for the defence of the 
Isthmus of Corinth in the passes of Mount 
Geraneion. Writing to Hamilton in the midst 
of these tumultuous scenes on May 9, he 
says : 

All these troubles and disappointments will have no 
effect upon my spirits or my efforts to weather the 
storm. I am at least saved from that distracting doubt 
whether to stay or to go away. Having voluntarily 
thrown myself into the torrent, I as voluntarily remain 
to sink or swim with the cause of Greece. I can 
readily excuse those who have left us, as there is no- 
thing amusing or agreeable in what is going on here ; it 
is stern and barbarous warfare, with all the privations, 
difficulties, and distressing events imaginable. Still, if 
one acts from principle, that principle and the holiness 
of the cause must give us the perseverance necessary to 
carry through. 

He was writing again and again to the Gov- 
ernment at Egina that he could only hold 
his position if they would send pay and pro- 
visions. Throughout it was always the same 
story " the want of money is the permanent 
evil, crippling all efforts and plans." 

Hamilton wrote to Canning on May 17: 

Church wrote yesterday to entreat me to lend him 
secretly 2000 dollars for a fortnight, or that he should 
be obliged to abandon his station to-day. It was pain- 
ful for me to refuse an old friend, but knowing how the 


money was to be applied, I thought it my duty [as a 
neutral] to do so. 

He held on with what supplies he could get 
from Egina until the 27th May. Then he had 
arranged his plans, and the position had become 
intolerable from the scorching sun to men with- 
out tents on this bare and waterless rock : he 
had held it for three weeks, " not only against 
the enemy, but still more against my own men." 
In the night and early morning of the 28th 
the embarkation of about 3000 men was effected 
in a masterly way with the loss of only two 
men, in the little harbour of Munychium, in 
face at last of the Seraskier and the Turks, 
who had become aware, when too late, of the 

Church's ascendancy over these wild and 
savage Greeks dated from this long trial. His 
firmness and composure cowed the noisy and 
turbulent ; his courtesy, kindness, and fellow- 
suffering with their privations won over the 
best to personal devotion. He attached to his 
person a band of 400 to 500 Roumeliots under 
chiefs whom he could trust, and they became 
the nucleus of larger and more fluctuating 
bands who joined him from time to time from 
the several cantons where his headquarters 
were fixed. Some characteristic stories were 
told of him at this time. Mr Edward Mas- 


son, who was Lord Cochrane's secretary at 
the time, and outlived the General at Athens, 
spoke to me of seeing him in his tent on the 
Munychium with nothing but his Bible and 
sword on a table, and of his patience and com- 
posure during this stormy time. One of his 
Greek aides-de-camp told the Davidic tale of 
his refusing to drink of the water of the well 
at the foot of the Munychium hill because it 
had been brought to him at the risk of life 
from the fire of the Turkish outposts. 

Such was the prelude to his camp-life of the 
next two years spent with the Greeks among 
the mountains of Achaia, and the plains and 
lagoons of Western Greece. He lived with 
his men throughout to the end of his cam- 
paign in Western Greece in July 1829. 

An English officer, the Resident of Cerigo, 
writes to him in December 1828 : 

Dionysio, one of your Greek soldiers, has again set 
out to serve under you. I admire the warm devotion 
and affectionate respect with which he spoke of you. 
His tales of the war were most graphic, and every one 
heard with intense sympathy the extreme hardships, 
risks, and sufferings to which you were daily exposed 
while engaged in a warfare so peculiar. He gave us an 
account of your brilliant success at Vonitza : it shows 
what might have been done if you had been seconded, 
and if you had a paid and disciplined force. Dionysio 
says that a kingdom would not repay you for all you 
have suffered and sacrificed in the cause of Greece. 


He tired out the Greeks often in marches ; 
and by pluck and cheerfulness of spirit, in 
endurance of cold and heat and thirst, put 
them to shame for their complaints. To one 
of his Moreote "generals" who complained of 
his quarters on one of the mountain stations 
of Achaia in November, he wrote : 

It is true the torrents of rain drench us all by day 
and night ; but what can I do to remedy this evil ? I 
cannot help you in any other way than by giving you 
and your men the houses which are set apart for the 
headquarters, and take those that have been given you, 
of which you complain. Your time of life, my dear 
friend, requires care, therefore please yourself. 

Alone, by force of character and personal 
influence and unconquerable patience, he kept 
his men together, without regular pay, often 
without rations, ill-clothed, and without proper 
shelter in winter and in summer, and he worked 
out with them the accomplishment of his pur- 
pose. He had from the first determined on a 
descent upon the coast of Western Greece to 
cut off the supplies of Messolonghi and Lepanto 
and to liberate the western provinces. To that 
purpose he tenaciously clung for two years. 
His progress was slow, delayed and harassed 
by the penury of the Government and their 
niggardly and fitful support. " Six months' 
experience," he writes, " is more than sufficient 


to show me how impossible it is to act with 
vigour when my movements depend on the 
caprice of others." He spent all his own 
money, and then was forced into the ruinous 
step, in his simplicity in money matters, of 
contracting loans in the Ionian Islands, on the 
authority of the National Assembly but in his 
own name, for the support of his army. At the 
end of the war the Government of Capodistrias 
only acknowledged their liability for a portion 
of this amount ; they paid only a small sum, 
on account, and Church was thereby involved 
in pecuniary embarrassments for after years. 1 

A good-humoured sketch of the General's 
camp of wild bandit-like palicari, from an Eng- 
lish diplomatist's point of view, is given in the 
account of a passing visit of Stratford Canning 
to him on the Akarnanian coast. Canning is 
writing to his wife on his voyage from Corfu to 
Greece in an English frigate in July 1828 : 

In spite of sea-sickness I am rather in good spirits 
to-day at having done a good action. After entering 
this bay I went round to a corner of the coast near 
an island called Calamos, and paid a visit to my old 
friend General Church, the Greek Commander-in-chief. 
I found him occupied with his army of whiskered 
ragamuffins in a plain at the foot of a semicircle 
of lofty, steep, barren hills, while a flotilla of gun- 

1 Cf. p. 353. 


boats, headed by a Greek steamer, maintains his com- 
munication with the sea. We called him out of his 
hut between five and six in the morning, and had 
as rapturous a meeting as the formalities of the quar- 
antine would allow. I had great difficulty in persuad- 
ing him not to salute the ambassador with the two 
wretched pieces of ordnance of which his one battery 
is composed. The expenditure of ammunition would 
have delayed his operations. 

Church's letter is pathetic in its simplicity 
of feeling at the unexpected sight of his friend 
in such circumstances : 

Nothing could have given me greater pleasure than 
your visit in the midst of all the suffering I have under- 
gone for some time past. It was really the kindest 
thing in the world, and I thank you for it. I saw you 
sail off with the greatest regret. I returned to my 
camp with the fervent hope that Providence will crown 
your labours and my humble exertions with success, 
and that we may one day witness the solemn declara- 
tion of the independence of Greece, and have a happy 
meeting again. 

The cultured and fastidious diplomatist might 
well have thought scorn of the dirty kilted 
Greeks, "untaught knaves, unmannerly," as 
they must have appeared to him. Probably 
he would have sniffed as much at Garibaldi's 
Thousand at Marsala. Nevertheless men such 
as these, Church with little support from Capo- 
distrias, trained to discipline and order and 
humanity with these he carried to success 


his plans of warfare, and added two provinces 
to the Greek kingdom. At the head of these 
men in their poor equipment, acting under the 
inspiration of his enthusiasm, patience, and 
fortitude, Church at last entered Messolonghi, 
the sacred spot of Greek heroism, in June 1829, 
the liberator of Western Greece. What was 
still more remarkable, he was able to control 
these men to keep faith with enemies. Turkish 
prisoners were brought into camp instead of 
Turkish heads ; defenceless women and children 
were respected after the capture of Turkish 
fortresses, and prisoners of war were conducted 
in safety to the Turkish outposts by his soldiers. 
The full importance of Church's military 
operations was shown when the line of the 
frontiers of Greece was determined. The 
occupation of the provinces of Akarnania and 
-^Etolia by his soldiers afforded the basis on 
which the claim rested that those provinces 
should be included within the Greek State, 
and that the line of frontier should be drawn 
through the Gulf of Arta. 1 

1 A pamphlet was published in London, ' Observations on an 
Eligible Line of Frontier for Greece.' By Sir R. Church. 
Ridgway, 1830. 

For further details of General Church's campaign in 1827- 
1829 see ' Sir R. Church.' By Stanley Lane-Poole. Longmans, 

' New Quarterly Magazine,' July 1879 : " The Greek Frontier, 
how it was won in 1829." 


An impartial testimony to the value of 
General Church's services to Greece in this 
campaign is given in a letter from Mr Finlay 
written many years before the publication of 
his history of the Eevolution : 

DEAR GENEEAL, I return your notes with many 
thanks. I have taken the liberty to copy them, as 
to me they recall the scenes and correct many of the 
errors of Gordon. I well recollect the landing at 
Dragomestre, which at the time I thought a desperate 
and even hopeless attempt with the small force you 
had. I have long, however, seen that it was to that 
desperate step that Greece owes the extension of her 
frontier. The 500 men induced Eomeli to take arms, 
and prevented Capodistrias from making the Morea 
Greece. You gave him Romeli in spite of himself, and 
you made Agostino [Capodistrias] a hero. Yours 
sincerely, GEO. FiNLAY. 1 

Thursday Evening. 

While the General was in the wilds of Akar- 
nania in January 1828, his elder brother died 
at Florence, to his great grief and loss, and 
from henceforth he was lost to his brother's 
family for many years. His nephews, at school 
and college, grew up with a very indistinct 
knowledge of their uncle until they saw him 
at Athens in after years. 

1 The letter before us is without date. From ink, paper, and 
handwriting, it appears to belong to a series of letters from 
Finlay in 1831-32, in one of which he addresses General Church 
as " the liege lord of all true Philhellenes." 



He had thrown in his lot with a fickle people 
naturally jealous of the foreigner. They owed 
him a debt of gratitude, and of money, which 
it was difficult to repay, and often burdensome 
to remember. His signal successes in Western 
Greece met with no recognition from the Presi- 
dent Capodistrias. He resigned his command 
.with an indignant protest against the neglect 
of his soldiers during the war, and he used all 
his endeavours in opposition to Capodistrias to 
obtain the extension of the frontier of Greece 
so as to include the territories he had won. 

When the Allied Powers had put Otho of 
Bavaria on the throne, the ministry of Mavro- 
cordato desired to make amends to Church for 
the ingratitude of Capodistrias. He was no- 
minated, by a strange freak of fortune, as it 
seems now, Greek ambassador to the Emperor 
of Russia. 1 Not unnaturally the Emperor did 
not wish to receive an Englishman as repre- 
sentative of Greece. In the year before he had 
declined, without reason given, to accept Strat- 
ford Canning as ambassador from England, and 
the two friends were now united in sympathy 
under the like affront from the same quarter. 

But honours in Greece which more fitly be- 
longed to him, were now conferred. He was 

1 The appointment of Sir R. Church as " Envoy Extraordinary 
and Minister Plenipotentiary," fully made out and signed by the 
king at Nauplia, January 13, 1834, exists among his papers. 


made a member of the Council of State, and 
in 1836 Inspector-General of the army and of 
the National Guard, with divers orders and de- 
corations, and finally, in 1844, a Senator. An 
insurrection in Western Greece gave him an 
opportunity of exercising his powers of concili- 
ation and firmness with the chieftains who had 
served under him in the war, and he did good 
service now not only in reconciling their feuds, 
but in interceding for them with the Govern- 
ment. " Wild and headstrong chieftains who 
proved unmanageable to all others readily and 
willingly submitted to his command, for he was 
known to be just, and to thirst after no 
power." l 

Sir E. Lyons wrote to him in 1843 : 

I rejoice to see such fruits of your exertions for the 
welfare of this country, to which you have devoted 
so much time, so much talent, so much energy, and 
for which you have, when we take the extension of 
the frontier into the scale, done more than any other 
man, be he who he may. 

He was still holding this command when, in 
September 1843, King Otho was forced by a 
bloodless revolution at Athens to dismiss his 
Bavarian counsellors and army of occupation, 
and to grant the promised constitution and a 
representative assembly. The Council of State 

1 Words said in the funeral oration. 


assumed the direction of affairs, General Church 
was elected to act as intermediary with the 
king, and he obtained the king's acquiescence 
in the demands of the Council without any 
popular disturbance. 

His English name appears strangely meta- 
morphosed in a proclamation of the Council of 
State which thanks the people and the gar- 
rison of Athens for their orderly conduct, orders 
an oath of fidelity to the Constitution to be 
taken by the army, and appoints the 3d 
September to be kept as a national festival. 
Richard Church, as " P. To-wpro-^?," is the 
fourth in the list of names subscribed, following 
the well-known Greek names of Conduriottes, 
Mavromichales, and Notaras. 

But in the next year the wheel of fortune 
swung full round. Suddenly, and with no 
reason assigned, General Church was deprived 
by royal decree of his post as Inspector-General 
of the army. No doubt Church, as commander 
of the army, was in the way of the unscrupulous 
minister of the day, Coletti, an Epirote of the 
school of Ali Pacha, one of the most audacious 
and intriguing of the old klephtic chieftains, 
who had risen to be minister of the constitu- 
tional king. Church was a foreigner and an 
Englishman, and had held the command eight 
years, a long time in Greece. Coletti wished 


to appoint a Greek, and one of his own instru- 
ments. The king, smarting still under the 
humiliation of having been forced to grant 
the constitution and to dismiss the Bavarians, 
signed, nothing loath, the act of dismissal. 

This indignity was accompanied by the gross 
and stupid insult of appointing in his place 
Theodore Grivas, one of the most lawless of 
the chiefs of Western Greece, and one of 
Church's most mutinous officers. As associate 
and instrument of Coletti in 1827, he had 
seized and held against the Government the 
Palamede fortress at Nauplia, and Church, with 
great difficulty and forbearance, had forced him 
to evacuate it. Afterwards he had been sent 
up with his corps to join Church in Akarnania 
by the President Capodistrias, with warnings 
of his mutinous spirit. Lately he had been in 
insurrection against the king, and his evil char- 
acter was known of all men. 

Sir E. Lyons wrote indignantly in an official 
despatch to Lord Aberdeen, November 10, 

Sir K. Church, who has sacrificed his fortune and 
eighteen years of his life to render most important 
services to Greece, who in the late occasion of the 
Eevolution contributed more than any man to preserve 
the throne, not to say the life of the king, such a man 
is abruptly dismissed to make room for a man who has 
committed several murders, who was only a few months 


ago in open insurrection, and is now Coletti's instru- 
ment in all the injustice committed by the Election 

Articles in the Greek press at the time de- 
nounced the ingratitude and indecency of the 
action, and repudiated it on behalf of the Greek 

In the English House of Commons Sir B. 
Peel, then Prime Minister, said : 

I cannot refrain from declaring that the conduct of 
Greece towards General Church involved in it a charge 
of grievous ingratitude. But no censure, -no dismissal 
could make Europe insensible to the great services 
which that distinguished officer has qonferred upon 
Greece. I believe he is too proud to complain. The 
sufferers are not the objects but the authors of such 
proceedings. 1 

Church at once replied by a letter addressed 
to the king demanding to be relieved from all 
military rank, and retiring from the service : 

SIEE, Entretenir V. M. des services que je me flatte 
d'avoir rendus & la Grece et au trone de V. M. serait 
importuner V. M. de trop. Je me bornerai, Sire, a 
prier Y. M., avec tout le respect due au Eoi Constitu- 
tionel d'une nation qui m'a honore* de son suffrage au 
del& de mes merites, d'accepter ma de'mission du ser- 
vice militaire de Y. M. que des circonstances non 
ignore*es de Y. M. m'obligent a demander. 

. ( 30 Oct. I 
D'ATHENES, A ] fn^T M 844 - 

: Morning Herald' and 'Times,' March 15, 1845. 


He wrote to Sir R. Peel to thank him for 
the honourable way in which he had been 
mentioned in Parliament : 

Upheld by the conviction that I had done all in my 
power for Greece at the sacrifice of my own personal 
interests, I was stung by this unmerited insult from a 
quarter whence it ought not to have come, and from a 
sovereign who, I may assert without fear of contradic- 
tion, would have lost his throne on the 3d of September 
had I not interfered on his behalf, and opposed the al- 
most general wish of the Greeks in the moment of their 
deepest excitement. Subsequent events have left me no 
option but -that of instantly quitting the service, of the 
king, though suffering under the mortification of seeing 
such an end to my military career in Greece. 

This was practically the close of his active 
military and official life in Greece. For ten 
years he lived at Athens without any military 
rank or pay, but holding his position as senator. 
Then in 1854, at the time of the Crimean war, 
King Otho begged General Church to return 
to the military service with the grade of 
full General, holding rank next to the king 
himself, and superior to all other military 

With much reserve, and only after the per- 
suasion of his friends and the English Minister, 
Sir Thomas Wyse, and with the full approba- 
tion of Lord Clarendon, the English Foreign 
Secretary, he accepted the proffered honour. 


In a letter written at the time, March 17, 1854, 
he says : 

Without the slightest application from myself, I have 
received this invitation from the king. It is the opinion 
of everybody here, that I should accept the king's pro- 
positions. In an audience I asserted my perfect liberty 
of political opinions and actions either in the Senate or 
elsewhere : the king insisted so strongly, saying at last 
that if I did not accept he should attribute my refusal 
to a personal hatred to himself, that I said I could not 
refuse his request. 

In the same letter he condemns the folly of 
the king and Government of the day which 
allowed aggressions on the Turkish frontier 
by Greek military officers, one of whom was 
Theodore Grivas, no longer in office, against 
the advice of the best friends of the country. 

These aggressions led to the occupation of 
the Piraeus by English and French soldiers 
in 1855, which was a great distress to the 

On this occasion Lord Palmerston wrote to 
him, May 29, 1854:- 

I was very glad to hear that King Otho had made to 
you suitable reparation for the bad treatment which 
you had experienced at his hands, though I fear that 
this measure on his part did not proceed so much from 
a consciousness of former injustice as from a foolish 
notion that by calling you back to his service he would 
give countenance to the idea that the English Govern- 
ment was favourable to his aggression in Turkey. Out 


of evil sometimes comes good, and your reinstatement is a 
great, and I hope will be a lasting, advantage to Greece. 

But the General never after this took any 
active part in political or military affairs. His 
rank gave him a position of honour suitable to 
his services and expressive of the respect in 
which he was held in the country. 

It was in the year 1848 that I saw him for 
the first time. His house was every morning 
the meeting-place of his friends. Men of the 
war, captains of Western Greece, whenever they 
came up from the provinces to Athens, paid 
their homage to him as their former chief 
and also their comrade. Senators, the leading 
men of the Opposition, professors of the Uni- 
versity, nomarchs of the provinces, men from 
the islands, were to be found at these morning 
levees, " the rallying - point." as Lyons said, 
" of the steady and intelligent patriots." His 
Greek friends came to him to talk over the 
affairs of that eventful year in Europe, as well 
as the political prospects of their own country 
and party, and to gain information from the 
experience and calm judgment of the generous 
Englishman who had seen men and cities be- 
yond Greece, was the friend of English states- 
men, yet had fought and suffered with them- 


It was a picturesque and polyglot company. 
The General, in the corner of the sofa of his 
drawing - room, talked quietly but freely in 
Italian or French, seldom in Greek, in which 
he was never fluent, with one or another, 
breaking out into good-humoured raillery of 
some old comrade, often into strong language 
at the iniquities of the Ministry and the out- 
rages reported from the provinces. The last 
new thing in political scandal or insurrection 
was brought by some visitor and discussed 
the men of the war in the Albanian dress, 
embroidered vest and fustanella, for the most 
part not talking much, but smoking solemnly 
the long cherry-stick chibouques, or playing 
with their amber beads ; some journalist or 
professor in Western dress, haranguing from 
time to time in French. Around the room 
were pictures of the king and queen and of 
scenes in the war, and twenty-four miniatures 
of the General's friends and chieftains. Every- 
thing around told of the new Greek life working 
itself out under strange conditions beneath the 
shadow of the Acropolis of the old world. In 
1848 the times were interesting. Greece was 
feeling the swell from the great upheaval of 
society in Europe. There were rumours of 
revolution, and of a coup d'etat in the capital, 
and risings in the provinces here and there at 


Lamia in the north, at Corinth and Pyrgos 
and Messenia, in the Morea. It was as of 
old : here and there rival leaders of parties set 
up a grievance, and " went out " with a polit- 
ical cry, and " every one that was in distress, 
and every one that was in debt, and every one 
that was discontented "- klephts and brigands 
gathered themselves for the time in bands 
and scoured the country, and the poor villagers 
were equally oppressed by the bands in revolt, 
and by the king's soldiery who were sent in 
pursuit. But there were no materials for a 
revolutionary mob in the little capital of not 
more than 20,000 people, all impoverished by 
the war, and all the ready money was in the 
hands of the king. All evaporated in tall 
talk and journalistic warfare. But the popu- 
lar discontent made the General's warnings of 
danger frequent and weighty, and he took his 
military precautions for the defence of his 
Tower. Great was at first the excitement of 
living in this strange atmosphere and among 
many brigand -looking faces. But among the 
elder warriors who came to the General's house 
were also some fine fellows, with stern, care- 
worn faces, telling of determination of pur- 
pose, and hardihood and suffering, who had 
gone through with him a wild and savage war 
several of large build, of handsome features 


and honest and good expression, whose look 
and bearing heightened the interest which the 
General's introduction often raised. They all 
had in his eyes some claim to distinction. One 
" is of the best families of Epirus," whose father 
and brother were decapitated by Ali Pacha ; 
another in a coarse woollen vest, fustanella, 
and woollen leggings and large thickly soled 
shoes, is a naval captain who did great things 
in the war, and is now " a kind of Cincinna- 
tus"; another is an old Mainote who can only 
speak Greek. Canaris, the great admiral and 
bruloteer, is also here sometimes ; and the 
leader of the Opposition, Alexander Mavrocor- 
dato, the only Greek statesman of the time 
of whom Stratford Canning spoke with great 
respect. 1 Between him and the General there 
was always reciprocal confidence and esteem 
a small, old, and whiskered man with large 
head, recalling to me the incongruous likeness 
of Hartley Coleridge, but with spectacles. 
Other public men came there, also held in 
honour by the General, among whom I especi- 
ally remember Psyllas and Pericles Argyropoulo, 
his intimate friends. 

The three aides-de-camp of the General, who 

1 "I hold him in my esteem as the most able, honest, and 
public-spirited man of his nation." S. Canning to General 
Church, December 18, 1865. 


were with him at different times, were men 
of note in the war, and typical in their ways. 
Dangli, the tall, grey, handsome old Souliot, 
blind in one eye, in blue and silver embroidered 
vest and leggings, had been one of the Souliot 
hostages with Ali Pacha, and was present 
at his treacherous murder in the island of 
Joannina lake. Afterwards he had been with 
the General in the Ionian Islands, and was 
with Byron in Messolonghi at his death. 
Anagnostes Mostras, the man of Arta, was 
one of four brothers who had been in the 
siege of Messolonghi in 1826, and had broken 
through the Turkish lines in the sortie - 
three of them carrying by turns the fourth 
brother who was wounded, on their shoulders, 
big and burly, honest, able, and devoted. 
Colonel Mostras was the General's secretary, 
and was alone with him while I was at Athens. 
Thedge'nes the Theban had escaped out of 
the Acropolis when blockaded in 1827, and 
hiding himself in ruins and ditches for three 
days and nights, had made his way through 
the Turkish camp to the General at Muny- 
chium. He in 1870, as Colonel Thedgenes, 
was most unjustly the object of attack in 
Parliament and by the English press for the 
failure of his mediation with the brigand 
fiends at Oropo, and his life was embittered 


thereby. He alone survived his chief, and 
for three months only. 1 

These men were examples of the best 
soldiery of Greece, and also of that fidelity 
and devotion to the person of their chief 
which the General won from so many of his 
Greeks. With them he spoke always in 
Italian, on mutual terms of easy familiarity 
and of implicit confidence, and on their part 
always of deep respect and affection. Oc- 
casionally the imperfect political morality of 
his more intimate friends, and even of some in 
high position, roused him to chivalrous rebuke. 
In a note of one of these days I find : 

Mr Z. came in to-day. He was praising somebody 
who had insulted a fallen enemy. The General broke 
out upon him in wrath, and our friend the "judge of 
the Areopagus " caught it warmly. 

It is a proof of his strong healthy influence that it 
could be said of him by Greeks, "He fears no one, 
and all the bad men fear him." 

Sometimes the passing English traveller was 
introduced into this mixed assembly of modern 

1 Sir Thomas Wyse, some years before the event which gave 
such notoriety to Colonel Theag^nes, describes him while on a 
visit at his house in Thebes : " Our host entertained us by a 
lively and interesting conversation. He speaks French and 
Italian remarkably well, and understands ancient Greek ; is a 
humble, independent, courageous man, as his life ? both political 
and military, proves, and of the most cheerful and obliging 
character." Impressions of Greece. By Right Hon. Sir T. Wyse, 
K.C.B., p. 64. 


Greeks, and would be struck by the courtesy 
and refinement of the English host who re- 
ceived them. Sir G. F. Bowen, one of the 
few survivors of those days, writes : 

I can recall that happy and interesting time of my 
first visit to Athens in 1847, and your uncle's hospit- 
able house in the shadow of the Acropolis, where he 
would sit every inch of him a polished English 
officer and gentleman among his then surviving 
comrades of the "War of Independence, a picturesque 
and historical group of wild and white-kilted palicars. 

In later years I also frequently met him at the 
British Legation, where he was always a welcome 
guest ; and I still remember the stately courtesy of the 
old school which made him popular with his hostesses 
and with ladies generally. 

When travelling in the provinces, letters 
in the General's name were a passport to the 
houses of " our constitutional friends," though 
we were sometimes frowned upon by the local 
officials. We heard reminiscences of him at 
different places where he had been in 1827, 
when in command, and in progress with his 
soldiery through the mountains of Achaia, on 
his way to embark at Cape Papas for Western 
Greece. The tambours of his camp in the 
" Great Dervhen " of Mount Geraneion were 
then visible to the traveller through that most 
beautiful route from Megara to Corinth. At 
Nauplia friends recalled his intervention in the 


military broils in 1827, when Moreote and 
Romeliot flew upon the spoil and fought over 
the grapes of Argos, and Grivas was lording 
it and firing guns over Nauplia from his for- 
tress on the Palamede. At Argos they told 
with wonder of his feat of swimming across 
the bay to the mills of Lerna, and the punish- 
ment which the scorching sun inflicted upon 
his back and shoulders. At Megaspelaeon the 
monks honoured his name as one of their great 
benefactors for the support and 'protection he 
gave them when the convent nest in the rock 
was a fortress against the Turks under Ibra- 
him, and a refuge for several hundred women 
and children of the neighbouring cantons. At 
Diakopto, on the heights above the Gulf of 
Corinth, the news of the battle of Navarino 
had reached his camp, and there were those 
who remembered the bonfires in the camp and 
along the high land of Achaia from Diakopto 
to Patras, which woke up responsive fires from 
the mountain heights across the Gulf. 

We were fortunate in meeting also with 
some representative men of semi - klephtic 
Greece. This is an extract from a letter of 
the time : 

When we were off Messolonghi divers Greek pas- 
sengers came on board among others, one of the 
notabilities of the war, Theodore Grivas, once of evil 


fame, but now aide-de-camp to the king, and going to 
pay his court at Athens. He came on board tutto d' oro, 
in gold-embroidered vest and leggings, with a body- 
guard of four picturesque palicaris carrying his sword 
and gun and pistols and yataghans, besides each their 
own gun and their belts stuffed with arms. The 
chief strutted about and twisted his moustache as 
if the ship was all his own and he was on his way to 
glory. He soon took notice of us, and gave us to 
understand that he wished to make acquaintance ; and 
then, after Greek bowings and salutations by hand to 
heart, and finally English hand-shaking, the palaver 
began. He expressed great friendship towards his 
Excellency the General (o a-TpaTrjyos), and all the 
English, and he told of a visit which " the Great Har- 
most " (i.e., the Lord High Commissioner) of the Ionian 
Islands, and o Btoev, 1 then the chief secretary, had paid 
him at his castle opposite Santa Maura. He assured 
us that it was a slander (cru/co^avreta) that it was un- 
safe to travel in Greece : there was now great quietness 
(7ro\\r) rjo-v^ia) in the mountains, and brigands did 
not exist. " Are there not bad men everywhere ? " 
All day long he has been on deck, talking interminably 
and receiving the salutations (crefida-fjuaTa) of his friends 
from the shore, except when he was eating lamb and 
drinking /cpacrt,, sitting on his carpet and waited on by 
hispalicari, and smoking chibouques. In the course of 
the day he showed us his arms, a very handsome Turk- 
ish sword which had belonged to Ruschid Pacha, who 
shot Ali Pacha ; and his gun with his name (tdewSwpa 
Tpifia) cut on it, and inlaid with curious rude figures 
of the Panagia and of animals. Now he has had his 
bed made on the deck that is, his paploma, a quilt, 

1 Sir G. F. Bowen, G.C.M.G., afterwards governor of five of 
our principal colonies. 



and his capote laid down ; and he tells me the klephts 
like to lie out in the open, and to sleep under the moon. 
But he goes on late into the night talking to a listening 
circle about the war in " Karlili " (Akarnania), and his 
former deeds with Botzares against the Turks, 30,000 
of them ! and he fights over his battles with gestures 
and sounds to imitate musketry piff! puff! boom! 
boom! in most animated and truly Falstaffian style, 
until it becomes wearisome to listen to him, and we 
salute and say good-night. 

It was a happy thing for us that at that time 
Northern Greece seemed free from brigandage. 
In consequence of the small insurrections going 
on, the sporadic bands of robbers had attached 
themselves either to the constitutional insur- 
rectionists or to the king's irregulars ; so the 
highways were unoccupied by brigands, and 
the travellers could pass safely even through 
the byways. Travelling in company with 
Edward Lear, his truthful and delicate pencil 
made captive many an exquisite combination 
of poetic mountain and of broad plain, or he 
fearlessly sketched the wild palicari as they 
strutted in the bazar or skipped down the 
mountain pass and stopped to drink at the 
wayside spring ; and as we journeyed he would 
sing out some Italian air, or chant with deep 
feeling some Tennysonian verse, as " The Lotos- 
eaters," sitting on the yellow shore of the little 
bay of Aulis, or throw off some nonsense ditty, 


as in the mid-day halt by the hot sulphur- 
springs of Thermopylae : 

" There was an old man of Thermopylae 
Who never did anything properly." 

But, sketching too eagerly in the hot July 
weather, he was taken ill of a fever in the 
house of our friend Thedgenes at Thebes. 
Doctors were sent out by the General in great 
alarm in a carriage from Athens ; but after 
a sharp struggle of some days he rallied, and 
the Greek doctor was able to say with classical 
humour, va Ovcra^Lev aXeKTpvaiva 'AcrKXijiria) 
" Let us sacrifice a cock to ^sculapius." 

The General's daily life was simple and uni- 
form. An early ride of four miles to the 
Phalerum to bathe was his almost daily habit 
during the summer months, starting between 
three and four so as to return before the sun 
had risen with its scorching heat over the 
shoulder of Hymettus. In August 1865, then 
past eighty, he wrote : 

We are broiling, but with the help of bathing I manage 
to get through the day. But, as you know, the sea is a 
long way off. I am obliged to get up at 3| A.M., and 
then to ride to my bathing-place, as I do not go to the 
baths of the Phalerum, which are crowded morning and 
afternoon. I prefer my solitary rock and little cove, 
where in the sea and out of it I spend a delicious cool 


In June 1870, in his eighty-seventh year, 
when he no longer rode, he went in a carriage. 
" In this great heat I have no comfort but when 
I am in the sea." 

The rocky eastern point of the Phalerum 
bay, the Tripyrgi, was his bathing-place. It 
was a historical scene in his life. There he 
told me of his narrow escape of being taken 
prisoner or sabred by the Turkish horsemen 
at the battle before Athens in May 1827. 

There was a chapel of St George some little 
distance inland of this point, around which a 
tambour of loose stones had been raised. He 
and Cochrane and about forty men were watch- 
ing the scene here when a charge of horsemen 
swept round and past them in pursuit of the 
flying Greeks, too eager to stop. Cochrane 
and the General had only just time to get off 
to the boats before another charge came down 
upon them to the water's edge. 

That year (1870) was a memorable year in 
Athens for the intense heat and for earth- 

I have no recollection of a summer like this in 
Greece [he writes]. We had an earthquake yester- 
day (August 1) about two in the morning. I was in 
bed, and remained there, having confidence in the 
strength of the walls of the old Tower: it behaved 
nobly ; its motion backwards and forwards was awful, 
but it soon righted itself and became again steady. 


Of a strong constitution, always simple and 
temperate in his habits, he knew little of illness, 
though at times he suffered much from the old 
wound in his left arm shattered at the taking 
of Santa Maura in 1811. After breakfast came 
the morning visitors, or he wrote or read until 
the mid-day rest ; dinner at five, at which the 
aide-de-camp was the only company ; then the 
coffee and chibouque on the verandah, look- 
ing on the garden court, its pepper-tree and 
cypresses ; and the evening ride in stately 
dignity, but in such scenes as it was a delight 
to linger in on beautiful summer evenings 
either round the Acropolis, or to a country 
house at Kara where Dr and Mrs Hill lived 
in the summer, or along the moonlit shore of 
the Phalerum Bay, or in the silvered olive- 
groves and by the water-courses of the Ceph- 
issus. There was little general society in the 
poverty-stricken capital, except the occasional 
balls at the Palace, where the General went 
not ; but the terrace of the hospitable English 
Legation, under the reign of the Lyons, Wyses, 
and Stuarts especially, was always open to 
him, and there he found his chief solace. 

In the winter evenings sometimes I read 
aloud to him his Apulian Tales, which he would 
amplify and comment on with quiet humour ; 
or I heard some recollections of other days gone 


by ; but he was reticent of his own deeds, and 
I knew not enough to ask questions. He was 
always a great reader, chiefly of history. Some 
of his books Gibbon, Grote, and indeed most 
of his library books, including his Bible are 
scored through with pencil notes and comments, 
according to his usual practice of reading with 
a pencil in hand. He was also a great writer 
in verse books full of poetical composition 
remained of heroic Greek subjects in the style 
of Glover's ' Leonidas,' and epic poems in which 
such as Manfred of Apulia or Harold of Eng- 
land were the heroes. Sonnets and pieces 
devotional, he would write in bed to a late 
hour in these years. 








DURING these years of simple and retired life 
at Athens, there was little to cheer him in the 
political state of Greece. His friend Sir E. 
Lyons wrote in 1849 : 

I see no comfort for the General in the political 
prospect of Greece, and I am afraid that, sanguine as 
he has always been, he has but little hope left himself. 
But, nevertheless, by his precept and example he keeps 
up the spirits of others. 

The loss of Sir E. Lyons in that year, with 
whom he had kept up a warm and uninter- 
rupted friendship for so many years, was a 
great blow to him. Lyons also felt it much. 

It seems to me a dream [he wrote], that the happy 
and delightful daily interchange of feeling and senti- 
ments with you which constituted the charm of my 
long residence in Athens should be at an end. 


The letters of the two friends in after years 
abound in affectionate expressions. Lyons could 
write from the Crimea 

It is long since we have written to each other, but 
I am very sure that I have constantly been in your 
mind, as you have been in mine. Never can I for- 
get the interesting scenes of all sorts in which we 
have taken part together, nor can I ever cease to re- 
member with pride and pleasure the noble part you 
have taken on all these occasions, inspiring in my mind 
admiration, confidence, and friendship. 

But there was no evidence of despondency 
nor even of regret in Church's mind. In the 
spirit of a religious enthusiast he had devoted 
himself to this cause for life, and had never 
looked back. It was thus he wrote, after 
twenty years of trial : 

I do not regret having sacrificed everything to the 
cause I embraced, and to whose triumph I hope I con- 
tributed. Once embarked in the cause, every other 
consideration was lost sight of. Notwithstanding what 
has happened, were it to be done over again, I should 
voluntarily undertake the same difficulties and dangers, 
and even with the anticipation of ruin to my private 
fortunes. I am not, however, the only one whom the 
mighty effort made to liberate this country has totally 
or nearly ruined. As no division of land nor arrange- 
ments have as yet been made for indemnifying the 
chief leaders of the country in the great struggle, every 
man is more or less in a state of ruin in his domestic 


His letters during these later years of his 
life bear out Lyons's words, that by his pre- 
cept and example he was keeping up the spirits 
of others amidst much of failure and disappoint- 
ment. He was also exerting an equitable in- 
fluence in behalf of the Greeks on important 
occasions with friends in England. Throughout 
he acted as the interpreter of the higher public 
opinion in Greece, as distinct from the Govern- 
ments of the day, and he brought to bear upon 
the Greeks the influence of leading men in 
England. So it was in 1850, at the time of 
the English blockade of the Piraeus ; so it was 
in 1854, when he was the apologist for the 
Greek people, suffering, as he thought, for the 
sins of their rulers. 

Lord Palmerston wrote to him in 1854 : 

I am glad to hear confirmed by your authority the 
notions which I had previously entertained as to the 
origin and character of the incursions made from Greece 
into Thessaly and Epirus. You may confidently assure 
all your Greek friends that the British Government, 
though indignant at the bad faith and astonished at 
the folly of the Court of Athens, knows how to dis- 
tinguish between the actors in the Eussian cabal and 
the Greek nation, and the Greeks may be assured that 
nothing will be done to impair the independence and 
political existence of Greece. 

If my personal and individual wishes could have 
prevailed at the time when the kingdom of Greece was 
constituted, Thessaly and Epirus would have been in- 


eluded within its limits ; but arrangements once made 
cannot be reversed, and the Greeks must be content 
with the boundaries assigned to them. 

It was in the correspondence of the year 
1855 that the General for the first and only 
time expresses regret for the sacrifice of his 
life to Greece, and only for the reason that 
he was thereby excluded from the military 
service of his own country. Still eager for 
active service, at the age of seventy - two, 
during the Crimean war, and even during the 
Indian Mutiny in 1858, when seventy-five, he 
wrote on both occasions to Lord Palmerston, 
and also to Stratford Canning, to ask if it 
were possible that he could re - enter the 
English service. 

It is only now, my lord [he wrote, September 12, 
1855], when my country is at war, that I feel the full 
weight of the sacrifices I have made for Greece. I am 
oppressed by the retrospect when I think of the high 
position I might now have held amongst the lieutenant- 
generals in her Majesty's service. 

At such a moment [he wrote in 1858, during the 
Indian Mutiny] I have thought it my duty to place my 
humble services at your lordship's disposal, and I fear 
no reproach for arrogance for stating my readiness to 
serve in India. 

He retained so much of the generous and 
quixotic simplicity with which he had thrown 
himself into Greece thirty years before. 


After 1861, when he first saw Mr Gladstone 
in Greece, letters to him are more frequent ; 
he felt sure of Mr Gladstone's sympathy, if not 
of full agreement in opinions. 

In 1862 he expressed to him the strong wish 
of the Greek people for the English Prince 
Alfred to be the successor of Otho as King 
of Greece ; and when that was impossible, he 
urged the early nomination of a successor, de- 
scribing the present calm, but the growing 
anxieties, of the Greek nation during the crisis 
so serious and so prolonged. Mr Gladstone in 
his reply says : 

Your description of the hopes and fears of those for 
whom you have done so much, has a touching, almost 
a tragic, interest. When will you come to England, 
where there are many who would be glad to see you, 
and where you would do good to the Greeks, by show- 
ing what sort of Englishman it is that has felt so pro- 
found an interest in them for half a century, and has 
left his name engraven in their hearts ? 

On the cession of the Ionian Islands to 
Greece, his feelings were much divided. Wel- 
coming the accession of that territory to Greece, 
where he had first trained Greeks to be soldiers, 
he saw also that a strong anti-English party 
was now brought into the Greek kingdom which 
would affect for a time public opinion in Greece, 
and he ascribed to that influence threatened 


changes which he deprecated in the constitu- 
tion. As a military man he deplored the de- 
struction of the fortifications of Corfu and Vido, 
as a selfish and unworthy course of action which 
depreciated the value of the gift. 

Mr Gladstone answered his objections : 

As to the fortifications of Corfu, I do not think that 
the Government have been prompted in what they in- 
tend by any selfish fears as regards the use of these 
fortifications in possible cases by Powers rival or hos- 
tile to England. I am confident that this has not been 
the main object in their view. 

But in the cession of the Ionian Islands we have had 
to consider the necessarily delicate relations between 
Turkey and Greece, and to take care that in securing a 
benefit for the latter Power we should not inflict an in- 
jury on the former. Now it was most unfortunate that 
when the Greek kingdom was constituted, Thessaly and 
Epirus should have been left under Ottoman rule. 
But so it was ; and it being so, we must respect within, 
and up to, the limits of honour and justice the author- 
ity which Europe has suffered to exist. 

I do not know whether the matter has presented 
itself to you in this as much as in other points of view. 
The Albanian coast is no match for Corfu fortified. 
We might perhaps have been glad if that coast could 
even now have been placed under the Hellenic Govern- 
ment, but this it did not rest with us to accomplish. 

You will admit that, whether a right view or a wrong 
one, this was no narrow or selfish view of the subject. 

Again, in 1864, the General writes in review 
of the policy of the advisers of the young king, 


and is alarmed at the threatened abolition of 
the Senate : 

The late King Otho was not a bad man nor a despotic 
ruler, but totally incapable of government. Still the 
nation forced upon him a good constitution. Now there 
is danger that a bad constitution will be substituted for 
that of 1843, and the existence of the Senate is threat- 
ened, I feel compelled to make plain my own opinion 
on so important a subject. 

Greece was called upon ultimately to try the 
experiment of having only one Chamber. 

Mr Gladstone wrote in answer on October 
7, 1864:- 

The destruction of the Senate is a design (I hope 
I need not yet say an event) to be deplored. Great 
as are the difficulties of the existence of two Chambers 
in a country like Greece, they will only be exchanged 
for more complications by the adoption of a single 
Chamber. But if Ionian influence has helped to bring 
about this mischief, I am afraid it was partly due to 
the strange, incongruous, unintelligible, and wholly 
bastard example of a Second Chamber which we gave 
them in the Ionian Senate. 

When Mr Finlay's 'History of the Greek 
Revolution' appeared at Athens, it was natu- 
rally a great trial to General Church to find 
his character and services so unjustly depre- 
ciated by his own countryman. 

The two men had been always on terms of 
friendly intercourse and free communication. 


Finlay had asked and obtained information 
from Church on points of personal history and 
military operations, and Finlay's letters of earlier 
date were appreciative and complimentary. 

The General, remembering the time when 
Finlay had addressed him as " the liege lord of 
all true Philhellenes," was taken by surprise, 
and his letters show his sense of having re- 
ceived wrong by suppression of truth and con- 
cealed feelings of ill-will. 

His first comment on the book appears in a 
letter early in 1862 : 

My old friend and very near neighbour, Finlay, has 
given me not a little abuse, I find. God help us if this 
book can be called a good history which contains in it 
so much at variance with truth ! For myself, if truth 
has any weight in this world, I am not apprehensive of 
suffering much in public estimation from the too clearly 
apparent animosity contained in my friend's narrative. 

He says again in another letter : 

His conduct to me has been that of an assassin in 
the dark. Does he forget that I have letters of very 
different purport to what he has now written of earlier 

There is no appearance of his having ever 
taken any notice to Finlay himself of his book. 
A contemporary review of Finlay's History 
justly pointed out that 

The manifest unfairness of Mr Finlay's judgments of 
his contemporaries affects seriously the weight of his 


judgment as a historian. We cannot help suspecting a 
writer who has an ill word for every one and seldom a 
good one who brings the worse characteristics of a 
man into distinct and emphatic prominence, while he 
lets his redeeming good deeds appear incidentally and 
without comment in some casual mention. There is 
throughout a studied and ill-natured depreciation of 
Sir E. Church's character and actions, which almost 
suggests the supposition of personal animosity. If an 
historian is not bound ' to be generous, he is bound to 
be just, and it is not just to be silent, as Mr Finlay is, 
on the patience, the unselfish devotedness, the constancy 
under reverses and difficulties, the disregard of personal 
considerations, with which Church threw in his lot with 
the Greeks, shared their fortunes, and tried to make the 
best of the enormous disadvantages under which he 
laboured. 1 

The General's friends in Athens were more 
concerned than he was, and Lord Lyons 2 
wrote : 

I burn with indignation when I think of the un- 
worthy detraction of the great services of one of the 
most noble-minded men I ever knew. 

The General employed himself in putting his 
papers in order, knowing that they presented 
another side which would demand a juster 
judgment ; but as time went on he felt con- 
tent " to rest on truth," as he said. The two 
men were of different temperament, but their 
courteous relations were never broken. Two 

1 Guardian, February 5, 1862. 

2 Afterwards Ambassador at Paris. 


notes from Finlay a few days before the 
General's last illness express thanks for kind- 
ness received. The two old men in their last 
days parted as friends. 

The end came at last to the hale old man by 
an attack of bronchitis in March 1873. He 
was in his ninetieth year. 

During the few days of his illness he was 
nursed by the Sisters of St Joseph, who lived in 
a house adjoining, and whom he had always 
taken under his care. His good friend Colonel 
Theagenes watched over him to the last, and 
the king and many mourning friends were by 
him in the ante-chamber of the little room in 
his Tower in which the old warrior passed to his 
rest with the prayers of the Church. The 
national funeral, and the words spoken at his 
grave in English by the son of an old Greek 
friend bearing the honoured name of Gen- 
nadius, 1 expressed with feeling and just dis- 
crimination of character the nation's grati- 
tude for this unique devotion of a life to her 

After all was over, and the General's papers 
and the records of a long life were examined, 
one circumstance brought to light the com- 
pleteness of his sacrifice. Among his papers 

1 His Excellency John Gennadius, then Secretary of Legation ; 
afterwards Greek Minister to England. 


a memorandum was found dated " 18th May 
1861," in which he left on record his claims, 
officially certified, upon the Greek Govern- 
ment, and at the same time his renunciation 
of those claims except in the event of his leav- 
ing any personal debts in Greece at the time 
of his death. His only object in placing these 
claims upon record was that others might 
thereby be secured against loss in the event 
of his actual property being found insufficient. 
These papers showed that the claims of the 
General were, not in compensation for services 
in Greece, for which during his whole career 
he never once had asked; they were, not for 
repayment of any part of his private fortune, 
the whole of which was sunk in supporting the 
war ; but they were for repayment of losses by 
loans contracted by him for the support of the 
war, on the authority of the National Assembly, 
the justice of which had been acknowledged 
by successive Governments, but a small por- 
tion only had been paid on account, up to the 
year 1858. 1 In his lifetime he would never 
allow these his claims to be put forward by the 
British Minister among other private claims 
of English subjects ; he now only claimed the 

1 Documents in verification were deposited in the Chancellery 
of the British Legation, and in the Greek Foreign Office, May 
1873. Cf. p. 318. 



intervention of the British Minister in this 
hypothetical case. 

The result proved that his anxiety upon 
this point was unnecessary, as, the cost of his 
public funeral having been defrayed by the 
gratitude of the Greek nation, the sum realised 
by sale of his library and effects was found 
sufficient to meet the charges upon his estate. 

" Privatus illi census erat brevis, commune magnum." 

It is evident [says a contemporary letter from 
Athens] that in late years his expenses on himself 
and his house had been very small, but very large pro- 
portionately in assistance to others, especially to the 
families of any of the soldiers of the War of Indepen- 
dence who were in need ; and all speak of the delicate 
way in which he was accustomed to give to those who 
needed, but were ashamed to ask. All this time he was 
living a life of great severity ; his rooms in the Tower 
where he died were quite a soldier's barrack the fur- 
niture the simplest and the barest a life of stern self- 
denial, with gentle courtesy and loving-kindness and 
generosity towards all who came to him in need. His 
character fills me with admiration as really noble and 
heroic in action and in suffering, with little talk of 
Christianity but with very much of its spirit. He was 
a true crusader. [His whole career in Greece seems to 
me an act of devotion and self-sacrifice to what he con- 
sidered a holy cause, the rescue of a Christian people 
from slavery. There has run a solemn seriousness 
through his life, and strong sense of duty reaching 
far beyond the thought of self-glory or personal am- 
bition, which distinguishes his life above all his con- 
temporaries in the same cause. The deep reverence of 


some who speak of him, the respect of all, and affection 
of others, tell of a remarkable character. Lord Lyons 
writes to me from Paris " His was the most chivalrous 
character I have known." And these are the words of 
Mr Finlay : " There could not be a nobler heart, and I 
think he was a perfect model of what he considered a 
perfect knight." 

The king, the Greek Government and nation, 
paid him every honour in their power. He 
was laid in his grave in the Greek cemetery 
with every mark of the reverence and grief 
of a nation. 

Two memorial inscriptions, written by two 
master-hands, attest the impression made by 
his character upon his own countrymen. On a 
tablet at the foot of a memorial window in the 
English church, put up by the British Govern- 
ment during the ministry of Mr Gladstone, are 
the words : 











The Greek monument at the grave in the 
cypress -grove bears upon it words in Greek 
and English : 











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Church, E. M. 

536 Chapters in an adventurous 
C58C58 life